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Full text of "Parish musings : or Devotional poems"

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PARISH 'MUSINGS 



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| JOHN S. B. MONSELL, LL.I"). 

RURAL DEAN, AND KRCTOR OF ST. NICHOLAS, C,V II.DFORD 



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FROM THE LIBRARY OF 



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THE LIBRARY OF 



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PARISH MUSINGS 










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JOHN S. B. MONSELL, LL.D 



VICAR OF EGHAM AND RURAL DEAN 



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[Fourteenth Tkousand\ 



PREFACE. 



The following pages contain literally what they profess — 
Parish Musings ; — Hymns, not the result of retired and con- 
templative study, but the unpremeditated aspirations and utter- 
ances of the heart of one engaged in the active scenes of 
Parish labour j — suggested by the incidents or feelings of each 
passing day, — composed on foot or on horseback, — in storm 
or sunshine, — by the way-side or on the hill-top, — in the 
country meadow, or the busy street, — by day or by night, — 
wherever duty called, and whenever the spirit caught, from 
without or within, subject-matter for serious conversation with 
Heaven. 

In most cases they have sprung from the consciousness of 
wants and weaknesses found within the writer's own breast, — 
when a giddy hour, an angry word, a wandering spirit, a cold 
heart, a failing faith, made him feel bitterly his own short- 
comings, and long for more constant and real communion with 
Christ. 

The only merit they claim is, that they are practical, not 
theoretical ; not the cold musings of the head of one at ease ; 
but the warm gushings of the heart of one, toiling himself, 
and striving to lead others amid the dust and conflict of the 
journey of life. 

As such they are now collected, to edify, to encourage, to 
comfort. They seek — not man's praise, but his profit, — to 
help, not to amuse him, — to give the utterance of another's 
experience to what, no doubt, often struggles voiceless within 

A 2 



IV PREFACE. 

his own bosom : and thus to promote closer communing with 
his heart — closer communion with his God. 

That some of these his "Parish Musings'' (published in 
earlier years) have been thus blest to many of God's people, in 
both life and death, has been to the Writer the truest en- 
couragement and reward. And it is in the sincere hope that 
they, with others (the growth of more maturity of soul), may 
continue to do God's work in an humble way, that this little 
volume is now put forth. — Not (as He knoweth, to whom it 
is offered, and from whom it hath been derived) for the 
Writer's honour, but for the Author's glory. 

Ramoan Rectory ; 
Ascension Day, 1850. 



ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SEVENTH EDITION. 

There having been an increased demand for " Parish Musings," 
it has been thought advisable to issue a cheaper Edition, in the 
hope that it may thus obtain an easier circulation amongst readers 
of every class. At the same time, a superior Edition has 
been carefully printed on larger paper, for presentation or 
private use. 

A few Poems, found only in the First Edition, arc in this 
one restored, they having been often asked for by those who 
had known them in earlier years. 

In all other respects this little volume is the same that 
has been so kindly welcomed for some years past in the homes, 
and it is hoped in the hearts also, of many of God's people. 

Egham Vicarage, Surkky ; 
St. Jamef Day, 1 S 63. 



CONTENTS. 



A wounded spirit stung by sin 
" Abide with us," Thou God of love ! . 
And shall not then that Name so justly dear 
And wilt Thou hear my soul's complaint 
Autumn leaves are falling fast 

Believers, — this the glorious Name 

Beset with cares, oppress'd with woe 

Birds have their quiet nest . 

Blest sign of Man's redemption ! — I adore 

Breath of the morning ! how balmy thy flight 

But ere we reach the shore the breeze is gone 



Christian life's no bank of roses 

Come, Lord of Glory, — come in pow'r and mi 

Dark and dim the daylight rose 
Deep tolls the muffled bell . 
Dependent for our daily food 

Fear! — sure, Lord, a sinner must . 
For ever, Lord, to dwell with Thee ! 
For unto Thee all pow'r — all praise belongs 
Friend of the friendless and the lone 

Gently there, my child ! 

Give me, O Lord, an earnest heart 

Give me, O Lord, whate'er my lot may be 

Give me that gentle spirit, Lord . 



ht 



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God of that glorious gift of grace . 
God of the Gospel, — hear our voice 
Good Christian, onward, onward haste 
Great need have I for one . 
Guide me ever, Lord, I pray 

Hark, the Sabbath bells are pealing! 

His Light my Guide ! His Law my rule 

Hour by hour, and day by day 

How wisely God hath hedged life's path below 

Hush, hush thee, my baby, hush, hush thee to rest 

Hush'd is the solemn voice that woke in prayer 

Hush ! 'tis the hour of rest . 



I ask'd for grace to lift me high . 
In every season, every hour . 
In Thee, my God, will I rejoice . 
I've seen a shepherd following his flock 
I will not, cannot let Thee go ! 

Let it suffice thee, speak no more 

Lord, dependent on Thy promise . 

Lord, give me grace, that I may be 

Lord, I'm oppress'd ! O undertake 

Lord of love and mercy guide us . 

Lord, what is life, without the beaming smile 

Members of Christ, children of God 

Merrily! merrily on we sail ! 

My Father and my God 

My God, my Saviour, sweet to be 

My God ! what wondrous love was Thine 

My sister dear ! how oft for thee . 

My Sun 'mid darkness, death and gloom 

My soul, would'st thou behold thy God 

My task is o'er, my work is done 



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. »w all is done, that love and care 



COXTEN 



Vll 



O for a heart more fervent . 

O for the time, when on the world 

O for the warmth of other days 

O how soft that bed must be 

O it is a weary life 

O what a gloomy cheerless scene 

M Our Father," — covenant and sacred Name 

Our sorrows sometimes are our truest joys 

Rise sons of Zion — peaceful warriors rise ! 



Sad, solemn season ! meet for thought and prayer 

Servant of God, and can it be 

" Soon and for ever" 

So teach me, Lord, to number 

Surrounded, every scene thro' which we move 

Sweet babe ! we welcome thee to earth 

Sweet church bell sounding solemnly ! . 

Sweet sacred Name, that like a spell 

Sweet summer day, — how calm, how bright 

Swollen as the'troubled sea . 

Take up thy cross, my soul, nor grieve 
Talk not of feelings, and of frames 
The broken contrite heart — oppress'd 
The sparrow on the house-top 
The spring-tide hour .... 
They drew around Him, — for they oft had felt 
They were — ..... 
This day the Lord is risen . 

Up and be doing, — "sons of God " — arise ! 

What is beauty ? but a flower ! 
Whate'er my hand or heart design 
When bow'd before Jehovah's throne 
When ease and quiet are our lot . 



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CONTENTS. 



Whene'er I bend my knees in prayer . 
When friend from friend is parting 
When cold our hearts, and far from Thee 
When souls, tho' parted, can unite 
When I consider, Lord, Thy perfect will 
When the threefold Name was spoken . 
When worldly men, and worldly ways . 
Where is my grave ? 'mid the silent dead 
Where is the past, with all its sunny hours 
Where'er the sun begins his golden reign 
"Who knoweth what is good for man " 
Who is so thoughtless as to say 
Why dost thou weep ? say, can it be 
Why restless, why so weary 
Why that sigh, my soul, at parting 
Would'st thou learn the depth of sin 



PACE 

74 
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Yes ! I do feel, my God, that I am Thine ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 



i. 

M I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is 
day j the night cometh, when no man can work." — jfohn 
ix, 4. 

CHRISTIAN life's no bank of roses 
Where we idly sit and sing, 
'Till the gathering evening closes, — 
Christian life's an earnest thing. 

Full of vows and full of labour, 
All our days fresh duties bring, 

First to God, and then our neighbour, — 
Christian life's an earnest thing. 

Onward — ever onward pressing, 

Yet untired as Angel's wing, 
Believing, doing, blest, and blessing, — 

Christian life's an earnest thing. 

On its wayside none may linger 

Undisturb'd by sorrow's sting, 
Or by judgment's warning finger, — 

Christian life's an earnest thing. 

B 



PARISH MUSINGS. 



Wake then, Christian, from thy slumber, 
Evening doth its shadows bring ; 

Few the hours thy day may number, — 
Christian life's an earnest thing. 



II. 



11 There is sprung up a light for the righteousj and joyful 
gladness for such as are true-hearted." — Ps. xcvii. II. 

O IT is a weary life 
Full of toils and dangers, 

Full of sorrows, full of strife, 
We in it but strangers ; 

O it is a world of woe ! 

Why should we so love it ? 
And prefer life's cares below 

To life's joys above it ? 

Yet from care we might be free 

As the sunshine o'er us, 
And the path of life might be 

Ever bright before us, 
If we could but look beyond 

Life, to that life yonder, 
If the hearts, of earth so fond, 

Could of heaven grow fonder. 



w 



PARISH MUSINGS. 

Then 'twould be a life of light, 

Nothing then could grieve us, 
Nothing then could pain or blight 

Trouble or deceive us ; 
Then — what care or grief befall 

Come but as God pleases, 
We would live above them all, 

We would live in Jesus. 

No ! 'tis not a weary life 

Tho' it hath its dangers, 
If we wage the Holy strife, 

If we live as strangers ; 
It is not a world of woe 

If we do not love it, 
But a training heaven below 

For the Heav'n above it. 



III. 

"Lord, teach us to pray." — Luke 13. I. 

HEN cold our hearts, and far from Thee 



Our wand'ring spirits stray, 
And thoughts and lips move heavily, — 
" Lord, teach us how to pray ! " 

Too vile to venture near Thy throne, 

Too poor to turn away, 
Our only voice — Thy Spirit's groan — 

" Lord, teach us how to pray ! " 

B 2 



PARISH MUSINGS. 

We know not how to seek Thy face 

Unless Thou lead the way ; 
We have no words, unless Thy grace 

" Lord teach us how to pray ! " 

Here every thought and fond desire 

We on Thine altar lay, 
And when our souls have caught Thy fire 

" Lord teach us how to pray ! " 



IV. 



w Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief/* — Mark ix. 24. 

YES ! I do feel, my God, that I am Thine ! 
Thou art my joy — myself mine only grief, 
Hear my complaint low bending at Thy shrine — 
" Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief ! " 



Unworthy even to approach so near, 

My soul lies trembling like a summer leaf ; 

Yet O forgive ! I doubt not, tho' I fear, 

" Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief ! " 

True, I am weak, " and poor and blind," but then 
I know the source whence I can draw relief : 
And, tho' repulsed, I still can plead again 
" Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief ! " 



PARISH MUSINGS. 



O draw me nearer ! for too far away 
The beamings of Thy brightness are too brief, 
While faith, tho 1 fainting, still hath strength to pray — 
" Lord, I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief ! " 



V. 

" And they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being in- 
terpreted is, God with us." — Matt. i. 23. 

SWEET sacred Name, that like a spell 
Rests round this heart,— Emmanuel ! 
Watchword of peace, and sign of love, 
'Twixt man below, and God above ; 
Best blessing of redemption, thus 
To be assured of " God with us ! " 

" God with us " in our hour of need, 
" God with us" His own blood to plead, 
" God with us," as our guide and stay, 
To hear, to answer when we pray, 
And make us feel, what joy 'tis thus 
To be assured of " God with us." 

Let hell combine, and men oppose, 
Angels or Devils prove our foes, 
Heights, Principalities, or Powers 
Seek to despoil this hope of ours, — 
They cannot, dare not harm, while thus 
We feel assured of " God with us." 

B3 



PARISH MUSINGS. 

Lord, draw us near, that we may be 
For ever walking close with Thee ; 
That we may live as in Thy sight, 
And love Thee as our chief delight. 
And, taught by faith, may ever thus 
Retain Thee as a " God with us ! " 






VI. 

LENT. 

u I have meat to eat that ye know not of." — John iv. 32. 

SAD, solemn season ! meet for thought and prayer, 
And calm seclusion ; yet not loved the less, 
If, fasting with my Saviour, I may share 
His feast of duty in the wilderness. 
Lone — yet not lonely, if my Lord be nigh, 
Sad — yet not joyless, if He deign to bless, 
Fasting — yet feasting, if His grace supply 
All that is wanting in earth's emptiness : 
A guest of Jesus, — where, tho' mortal eye 
Can neither table, bread, nor Host perceive ; 
Yet, for the soul which — Heaven taught — doth be- 
lieve, 
Faith with its finer senses can descry, 
Dropt from the heavens, drawn from the waters still — 
My meat and drink to do my Father's will ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 7 

VII. 

"SOON AND FOR EVER." 

A DYING CHRISTIAN'S LAST WORDS. 
M The time is short." — 1 Cor. vii. 29. 

" QOON and for ever," 

O Such Promise our trust, 
Tho' ashes to ashes, 

And dust unto dust : 
" Soon and for ever " 

Our union shall be 
Made perfect, our glorious 

Redeemer, in Thee ; 
When the sins and the sorrows 

Of time shall be o'er. 
Its pangs and its partings 

Remember'd no more ; 
Where Life cannot fail, 

And where Death cannot sever, 
Christians with Christ shall be 

" Soon and for ever." 

" Soon and for ever " 

The breaking of day 
Shall drive all the niirht-clouds 



i=>' 



Of sorrow away : 



PARISH MUSINGS. 

u Soon and for ever" 

We'll see as we're seen, 
And learn the deep meaning , 

Of things that have been : 
When fightings without us, 

And fears from within, 
Shall weary no more 

In the warfare with sin ; 
Where fears and where tears 

And where Death shall be — never ! 
Christians with Christ shall be 

" Soon and for ever." 

" Soon and for ever" 

The work shall be done, 
The warfare accomplish'd, 

The victory won : 
" Soon and for ever " 

The Soldier lay down 
His sword for a harp, 

And his cross for a crown. 
Then droop not in sorrow, 

Despond not in fear, 
A glorious to-morrow 

Is brightning and near ; 
When (blessed reward 

Of each faithful endeavour) 
Christians with Christ shall be 

" Soon and for ever ! " 






PARISH MUSINGS. 



VIII. 



u My soul followeth hard after Thee." — Ps. lxiii. 8. 

GIVE me, O Lord, whate'er my lot may be, 
A heart to look to, and to lean on Thee ; 
Teach me the thing that pleaseth Thee to do, 
And make my life to my profession true. 

Let me, my Saviour, on Thy breast recline, 
Thy words my comfort, my devotion Thine ; 
My life's best joy Thy promises to prove, — 
Trust in Thy Truth, and triumph in Thy Love. 



L 



IX. 

" Walk in love."- Eph. v. 2. 

ORD, give me grace, that I may be 
Thine — with such soul-sincerity — 
That wheresoe'er my steps may move 
My first last thought may be — Thy love. 

Lord, let my morn and evening prayer 
Be in Thy strength, and for Thy care ; 
That neither day nor night be past 
So as to grieve me at the last. 

But while I watch and pray, lest sin 

Surprise my soul and enter in 

To rob me of my present joy, 

And all my hopes of Heaven destroy — 



IO PARISH MUSINGS. 

Let my first fear be, lest I grieve 
The grace that taught me to believe ; 
Let my last care be, not to prove 
Ungrateful for Thy saving Love. 



X. 

cc Forgetting those things which are behind, and 



reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press 
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in 
Christ Jesus." — Phil. iii. 13, 14. 

GOOD Christian, onward, upward haste, 
Dwell not upon the gloomy past ; 
Let not the mist of useless tears, 
Shed over early doubts and fears, 
Shadow the heart, or dim the eye, 
That should look beamingly on High. 

Let it suffice thee to have giv'n 

So many years away from Heav'n, 

And let the remnant of thy days 

Be all one life of prayer and praise, 

Too little for that glorious God, 

Who bought thee with His precious blood. 

Why should'st thou weep, when Jesus died 

Joy in believing to provide ? 

Say, seems it well, to those who know 

Nought of religion but thy woe, 

That thy redeemed heart and voice 

Thus sorrow, when they should rejoice ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. I I 

Heir of a throne and crown above, 
Child of eternal grace and love, 
Lift up thine heart, lift up thine eyes, 
Press forward to the heavenly prize, 
And leave thy doubts and fears to those 
Who dare not upon Christ repose ! 

Then onward, Christian — onward haste, 
Dwell not upon the gloomy past ; 
Let not the mist of useless tears, 
Shed over early doubts and fears, 
Shadow the heart, or dim the eye, 
That should look beamingly on High ! 



XL 

M The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, 
but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." — Matt. 
viii. 20. 



B 



IRDS have their quiet nest, 

Foxes theirholes, and man his peace- 
ful bed ; 
All creatures have their rest. — 
But Jesus had not where to lay His head. 

Winds have their hour of calm, 
And waves — to slumber on the voiceless deep ; 

Eve hath its breath of balm 
To hush all senses, and all sounds to sleep : 



12 PARISH MUSINGS. 

The wild deer hath his lair, 
The homeward flocks — the shelter of their shed ; 

All have their rest from care, 
But Jesus had not where to lay His head. 

And yet He came to give 
The weary and the heavy laden rest ; 

To bid the sinner live, 
And sooth our griefs to slumber on His breast. 

What then am I, my God, 
Permitted thus the paths of peace to tread ? 

Peace — purchased by the blood 
Of Him who had not where to lay His head ? 

I — who once made Him grieve, 
I — who once bid His gentle spirit mourn, 

Whose hand essay'd to weave 
For His meek brow the cruel crown of thorn : — 

O why should I have peace ? 
Why ? — but for that unchanged, undying love, 

Which would not — could not cease, 
Until it made me heir of joys above. 

Yes ! — but for pardoning grace, 
I feel I never should in glory see 

The brightness of that Face, 
Which once was pale and agonized for me ! 






PARISH MUSINGS. 13 

Let the birds seek their nest, 
Foxes their holes, and man his peaceful bed ; 

Come, Saviour, in my breast 
Deign to repose Thine oft-rejected head ! 

Come ! give me rest, and take 
The only rest on earth Thou lov'st, — within 

A heart, that for Thy sake 
Lies bleeding, broken, penitent for sin. 



XII. 

"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Geth- 
semane." — Matt. xxvi. 36. 

WOULD'ST thou learn the depth of sin, 
All its bitterness and pain, 
What it cost thy God to win 
Sinners to Himself again ? 
Come, poor sinner, come with me, 
Visit sad Gethsemane. 

Would'st thou know Christ's wondrous love ? 

Seek it not beside the throne, 
List not angels' praise above, 

Come, and hear the heavy groan 
Utter'd by thy God for thee, 
Sinner — in Gethsemant\ 

c 



14 PARISH MUSINGS. 

When His tears and bloody sweat, 
When His passion, and His prayer, 

When His pangs on Olivet 

Wake within thee thoughts of care, — 

Think what tender love for thee 

Drew Him to Gethsemane ! 

Hate the sin that cost so dear, 
Love the God that loved thee so, 

Weep, but weeping watch and fear 
Lest that fountain freshly flow, 

That so freely once for thee 

Gush'd in sad Gethsemane. 



XIII. 

"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot 
rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, 
saith my God, to the wicked." — ha. lvii. 20, 21. 

SWOLLEN as the troubled sea 
Lord I feel this heart to be ; 
Restless on account of sin, 
Lord there is no peace within. 

'Till Thou bid its passions cease 
Lord it never can have peace ; 
Cannot change its wicked will, 
'Till Thou whisper, " Peace, be still ! " 



PARISH MUSINGS. 15 

Every idle hope begone, 
Speaking peace when there is none ; 
None but Jesus, none but He 
Peace can ever speak to me. 

'Till I feel my sins removed, 
And, — assured that I am loved, — 
Lean upon my Saviour's breast, 
I can never think of rest. 



XIV. 

"Ye shall be holy, for lam holy.' 1 — Lev. xi. 44. 

GUIDE me ever, Lord, I pray, 
Guide me most this holy day ; 
Guard me ever with Thy blessing, 
Guard me most when Thee confessing ; 
What I cannot give Thee, take — 
This poor heart, for Jesus' sake ! 

Holy every day should be, 
Holiest that I give to Thee ; 
Holy every thought and feeling, 
Holiest when before Thee kneeling ; 
Holy art Thou, — holy make 
This poor heart — for Jesus' sake ! 

When my voice to Thee I raise, 
Let my soul ascend in praise ; 

c 2 



l6 PARISH MUSINGS. 

When my knee is bent before Thee, 
Let my bended heart adore Thee ; 
Thou art holy, — Father make 
Sinners such — for Jesus' sake ! 

Holy art Thou, glorious God, 

Holy is Thy bright abode, 

Holy are the saints, who round Thee 

Praise the grace by which they found Thee ; 

Holy Father, stoop to make 

Sinners such — for Jesus' sake ! 



XV. 



" Who knoweth what is good for man ?" — Eccles. vi. 12. 

" ^V T 7HO knoweth what is good for man " 

* * i n this vain life below ? 
Who for himself dare plot and plan, 
And measure out life's little span 
With certainty, as if he can 
Tell what will come or go ? 

The very things we most desire, 

Most importunely crave, 
Granted — might only feed the fire 
Of Passion's lust, and raise it higher, 
Until both life and joy expire 

In an untimely grave. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 17 

Or we may live to feel 'twas best 

That God denied our prayer ; 
And tried and proved, 'till we confest 
That waves and storms which broke our rest, 
And toss'd us to our Saviour's breast, 

Our truest blessings were. 

Alas ! to-morrow — how it seems 

To cheat us of to-day ! 
The fond enthusiast idly deems 
Those projects, passions, plans, and schemes, 
Which people Life's uneasy dreams, 

Will for his coming stay. 

But let another evening set, 

Another morning rise ; 
To-morrow will its pledge forget, 
When it becomes to-day, — nor let 
Its dupe know aught but vain regret, 

And so he lives and dies. 

Lord, let me cast all thought of care 

For worldly things on Thee ; 
Thankful that Thou such weight wilt bear 
For one, who has small time to spare 
For aught, but holy strife and prayer 

Thine evermore to be. 



c 3 



l8 PARISH MUSINGS. 



XVI. 

u I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, 
shall give me at that day." — 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. 

MY task is o'er, my work is done, 
And spent the weary day, 
I've fought the fight, the battle won, 

And now must haste away ; 
Henceforth there is laid up for me 
A crown, thro' all eternity ! 

A crown by Hands eternal wove, 

Meet for a child of God, 
Gem'd with the jewels of His love, 

And purchased with His blood ; 
Which human hands could ne'er have wrought, 
And human merit ne'er have bought. 

Farewell, the cross, 'neath which so long 

I've watch'd, and wept below, 
And welcome now the harp and song 

That wait me where I go, 
Yet O ! that cross must still be dear, 
Tho' borne thro' many a sorrow here ! 






PARISH MUSINGS. 19 

And oft throughout eternity, 

'Mid all that's bright and blest, 
Its victory my joy shall be, 

And I will love it best ; 
For 'twas through Him who died thereon, 
My fight was fought, my battle won ! 

XVII. 

" For the Lord God is a sun and shield : the Lord will give 
grace and glory : no good thing will He withhold from them 
that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that 
trusteth in Thee." — Ps. lxxxiv. II, 12. 

MY Sun 'mid darkness, death and gloom, 
My Shield 'gainst storm and heat, 
God of my life, — the God in whom 

Both grace and glory meet ; 
Be Thou my guide and guard below, 

My blessedness above, 
And breathe o'er this cold heart the glow 
And gladness of Thy love. 

When wandering — weary and opprest — 

Shine o'er my pathless way, 
When life beams brightest, seems most blest, — 

Ward off joy's noontide ray : 
My failing, faltVing footsteps tend 

With fresh supplies of grace, 
A nd be my glory at the end 
To meet The e face to face. 



20 PARISH MUSINGS. 

O Lord of hosts, how blest is he 

Who in Thy strength confides, 
Whose soul reposes trustingly 

On all Thy grace provides ; 
Who never fears, nor doubts Thy love, 

Assured, — when Thou art nigh, 
That what Thy wisdom may approve, 

Thy love will ne'er deny ! 



XVIII. 

"I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." — Gen. 
xxxii. 26. 

I WILL not, cannot let Thee go ! 
My God, why dost Thou try me so, 
As thus to seem about to leave 
A soul Thou never lov'dst to grieve ? 
Ah no ! tho' many cares and griefs oppress me, 
" I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me ! ' 

I feel, my God, that I have caught 
The Arm that I so long have sought ; 
And tho' 'tis strong, — yet that will be 
My joy, when 'tis outstretch'd for me ; 
And therefore now, — tho' struggling, it distress me, 
" I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me ! " 

I've toil'd thro' all the weary night, 
And, if I hold 'till morning's light, 



PARISH MUSINGS. 21 

I know Thou'lt be constrained, Lord, 
To yield to Thine own pleaded word, 

And " more than conqueror" thro' grace confess me ; 

u I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me." 

'Tis hard to hold Thee, Lord, — but O ! 

'Twere harder still to let Thee go ! 

And lose Thy gift of Joy divine, 

Just when about to call it mine ! 
Ah no ! tho' many cares and griefs distress me, 
" I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me ! " 

XIX. 

14 We are more than conquerors through Him that loved 
us." — Rom. viii. 37. 

RISE sons of Zion — peaceful warriors rise ! 
This is no time of ease for soldiers true, 
But battles must be fought, and victories 
Be won for Him, who fought and bled for you. 
The ark and Israel dwell in tents; — who yields, 
Or lingers, when the gospel trumpet sounds, 
Where God's hosts " camped in the open fields," 
Trim their watch-fires, and tread their holy rounds ! 
Talk not of weakness ; — who is strong unless 
God's Arm uphold him, and God's Spirit bless ? 
Fear not disorder ; — where should soldiers be 
But where the faithful strive for mastery } 
Dread not the din, — the toil, — the tug of war, 
Christ makes His servant "more than conqueror !" 



22 PARISH MUSINGS. 

XX. 

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." 
Matt. v. 8. 

MY soul, would'st thou behold thy God, 
Would'st thou for ever be 
There, where thy sight can bear His light 

Thro' all eternity ? 
Would'st thou arise to those pure skies 

Where no sin-clouds obscure, 
And there abide, with Him who died ? 
Thou must, my heart, be pure ! 

Thy pride must be abased, 

Thy passions must lie still, 
Thy wand'ring wishes bounded 

By God's most holy will : 
All He commandeth thou must love, 

All He appoints endure, 
And every day keep sin away, 

Would'st thou, my soul, be pure ! 

Yet who can check the risings 

Of sin in thee, my soul, 
What mortal power watch every hour, 

And every thought controul ; 
What tears or pains can cleanse thy stains, 

What vows thy sickness cure, 
From sin release, vouchsafe thee peace, 

And make and keep thee pure ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 23 

Thank God there is a Fountain 

To wash in, and be clean ; 
A Spirit which can change thee 

From what thyself hast been : 
Wash'd in that Fount, that Spirit seek 

To make thy calling sure ; 
Watch, strive, and pray, from day to day, 

And God will keep thee pure. 



XXI. 

M While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept : for I 
said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that 
the child may live?" — 2 Sam. xii. 22. 

" O Almighty God, and merciful Father, to whom alone be- 
long the issues of life and death j look down from heaven, we 
humbly beseech Thee, with the eyes of Thy mercy upon this 
child, now lying upon the bed of sickness." — Visitation of the Sick. 

NOW all is done, that love and care 
And skilful kindness could suggest, 
And He who hears our anxious prayer 
Will answer as His love deems best : 
O that both hopes and fears were still, 
Waiting on His mysterious will ! 

And yet both hopes and fears will crowd 
Around that bright and precious child, 

And both will speak their thoughts aloud, 
'Till this distracted heart grows wild : 



24 PARISH MUSINGS. 

might they all give place to one 
Heart-filling prayer, " God's will be done ! " 

Sometimes a dream of what may be 

Comes like soft sunshine o'er this heart, 

1 hear his prattle at my knee, 

Feel his warm cheek near mine, and start 
To find it — ah ! so cold and pale, 
That Hope (and well-nigh Faith) doth fail. 

And then again the dream returns — 
Childhood and youth are safely o'er, 

His eye with manhood's ardour burns, 
Fears hover round his path no more : 

Hopes, with their buds and blossoms, all 

Burst where his bounding footsteps fall. 

He seems to speak — with anxious ear 
My very heart waits breathless by, 

His lips are parted — and 1 hear — 
My precious babe — thy restless cry ! 

And Hope, affrighted, flees away, 

As if it had no heart to stay. 

Come then, my God, and take the place 
Of these distracting hopes and fears, 

Stablish this trembling heart with grace, 
Dry with Thine hand these falling tears, 

And teach me to confide to Thee, 

The treasure Thou could'st trust with me. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 25 

Happy, if rescued from the strait 

Of being call'd on to decide, 
Here with submissive soul I wait 

By Thy decision to abide; 
Life — with its blessings, and its pain, — 
Or death — with its " To die is gain." 



XXII. 

11 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast ? Can I bring 
him back again ? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to 
me." — 2 Sam. xli. 23. 

WHY dost thou weep ? say, can it be 
Because for ever blest — and free 
From sin, from sorrow, and from pain, 
Thy babe shall never weep again, 
Shall never feel, shall never know 
E'en half thy little load of woe ? 

What was thy prayer, when his first smile 
Did thy young mother-heart beguile ? 
When his first cry was in thine ear, 
And on thy cheek his first warm tear, 
And to thy heart at first were prest 
The throbbings of his little breast 1 

What was thy prayer ? canst thou not now 
See in his bright cherubic brow, 

D 



26 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Hear in his soft seraphic strain, 
So full of joy, so free from pain, 
An answer (as if God did speak) 
To all thy love had dared to seek ? 

Why therefore weep, when all the cares, 
The doubts, the troubles, and the snares, 
The threatening clouds, the falling tears, 
Childhood's wild hopes, and manhood's fears, 
That might have been — for him, for thee, — 
Have pass'd away, and ne'er shall be 1 

No thorns of earth have pierced his feet. 
No bitter tempests round him beat, 
No rains upon his head descended, 
But one soft gush of tears, that blended 
With the bright sacramental shower, 
And drove him to the heavenly bower. 

He scarcely sufYer'd, then was crown'd, 
Was scarcely lost 'till he was found, 
Had scarcely heaved one mortal sigh, 
Then enter'd immortality : 
A child of thine — a child of bliss ! 
Why therefore weep for joy like this 1 

Nay rather strive to praise the love 
That could so tenderly reprove, 



PARISH MUSINGS. 27 

That when it wounded, left no sting 
Of self-consuming suffering, 
But with thy profit, link'd the joy 
Of thy beloved and sainted boy. 



XXIII. 

"I have lent him to the Lord." — 1 Sam. i. 28. 

C^ OD of that glorious gift of grace 
? By which Thy people seek Thy face, 
When in Thy presence we appear, 
Vouchsafe us faith to venture near ! 

Confiding in Thy Truth alone, 
Here, — on the steps of Jesu's throne, — 
We lay the treasure Thou hast giv ? n, 
To be received and rear'd for heav'n. 

Lent to us for a season, — we 
Lend him for ever, Lord, to Thee ! 
Assured that, if to Thee he live, 
We gain in what we seem to give. 

Large and abundant blessings shed 
Warm as these prayers upon his head ; 
And on his soul the dews of grace 
Fresh as these drops upon his face ! 

D 2 



28 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Make him, and keep him Thine own child, 
Meek follower of the Undefiled ; 
Possessor here of grace, and love, 
Inheritor of heaven above ! 

XXIV. 

"Teach me to do Thy will 5 for Thou art my God." — Ps. 
cxliii. 10. 

GIVE me, O Lord, an earnest heart, 
Anxious to do Thy will, 
Contented with whatever part 
In life 'tis mine to fill. 

Fearful of wealth, and worldly pride, 

Glad, if a low degree 
With even sorrow by my side 

Help me to walk with Thee. 

Cautious of all the gauds and glow 

By earthly sunshine given, 
Choosing the cloudiest paths below 

So they lead up to Heaven. 

XXV. 

u God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life." — John iii. 16. 

MY God ! what wondrous love was Thine, 
How deep, how boundless, how divine ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 20 

That, when Thine erring sheep had stray'd, 
Thus found them and such ransom paid ! 

How cold the hearts that do not burn 
With zeal to show some faint return 
To One, whose love might well require 
Each thought, each feeling, each desire ! 

Lord ! Thou hast not denied Thy Son ! 
Perfect the glorious work begun, 
And give Thy grace, — in mercy give — 
That we may both believe and live. 



XXVI. 
"Take up the cross, and follow me," — Mark x. 21. 

TAKE up thy cross, my soul, nor grieve 
That such thy lot must be, 
For He who this command did leave, 
Said also — " Follow me." 

Take up thy cross, — nor faithless fear 

Lest it o'erwhelm thee, 
Without its weight thou could'st not hear 

His voice say, — " Follow me." 

Take up thy cross, he is unwise 

Who would from it be free, 
Without its pain, thou would'st not rise 

When Christ says, — " Follow me." 

D 3 



30 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Take up thy cross, — and let thy song 
Whilst thou dost bear it be, 

Pain cannot grieve, nor suff'ring wrong, 
While Christ says, — " Follow me." 



XXVII. 
"Let us go on unto perfection." — Heb. vi. I. 

WHO is so thoughtless as to say 
To-morrow does not feel to-day, 
And own its mystic power 
To heighten or relieve the pain, 
Swell the eternal loss or gain 
Of every coming hour ] 

One word, one look, one thought of sin, 
Utter'd, or glanced, or harbour'd in 

The heart where Christ should reign ; 
Tho' mourn'd and wept, will leave behind 
Some moral weakness in the mind, 

Upon the soul some stain. 

While holy prayers and deeds of faith, 
Such as to-day the Christian hath 

For love of Jesus done, 
Shall — tho' by him forgotten — be 
Strength for another victory 

Beneath to-morrow's sun. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 31 

The things which most mere trifles deem, 
A walk, a ride, a book, a dream, 

A pain, a laugh, a tear ; 
All come with their commission high 
To mould man for eternity, 

By growth in goodness here. 

And they, who own this heavenly law, 
Strength from all little things can draw 

For great things yet to come : 
For holy triumphs, which may prove 
Their depth of faith, their height of love, 

And fit them for their home. 



XXVIII. 

M Their strength is to sit still." — ha. xxx. 7. 

WHEN worldly men, and worldly ways 
Provoke thy wicked will, 
" Watch," for the careless heart betrays, — 
Be silent, and be still ! 

When scorn that wounds, and wrong that grieves 

Thy bursting bosom fill, 
" Pray," — for the prayerlcss heart deceives, — 

Be silent, and be still ! 



32 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Bear all that mortal hate can do, 

Its worst may only kill, 
His hope is sure whose heart is true, — 

Be silent, and be still ! 

One bitter word, one angry thought 
Will haunt thy mem'ry, till 

It hurt thee more than him it sought, 
Be silent, and be still ! 

Trust Him to right thee, who can take 
Vengeance whene'er He will, 

Forget thyself, and for His sake 
Be silent, and be still ! 



XXIX. 

il As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons 
of God." — Rom. viii. 14. 

UP and be doing, — " sons of God " — arise ! 
Proclaim your glorious birthright by your 
deeds, 
Let the world learn from children of the skies 
How faith can triumph, when the Saviour leads. 
Remember Olivet, — its tears of blood, 
The judgment-hall — its buffetings and scorn, 
And the mild meekness of thine injured God, 
His robe of insult, and His crown of thorn. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 33 

Remember Calvary, — its dying groan, 

Its dying prayers and sacrifice for man, 

Its sufferings His, — its sins, its cause, thine own, 

Then turn to sloth and slumber if you can : 

Sleep — and forget the hope, the heaven that lies 

Beyond earth's conflicts, — " sons of God " arise ! 



XXX. 

u Our days on the earth are as a shadow." — I Chron. xxix. I 5. 

SWEET church bell sounding solemnly ! 
What warnings thou dost give ! 
The living, — they must surely die, 

The dying, — they may live. 
Thou to the meditative mind 

A memory dost prove, 
Of pleasant scenes we leave behind 
And solemn scenes above. 

Thy voice doth tell of tearfulness, 

Of partings, and farewells, — 
And yet a chime of cheerfulness 

In all its music dwells : 
The knell of dying joys it tolls 

To dying mortals given, 
It rings its welcome peal for souls 

Into the gates of Heaven. 



34 PARISH MUSINGS. 

We hear thee in the busy mart, 

We hear thee in the field, 
We hear thee when the human heart 

To tenderness doth yield : 
When life is fresh, and home is fair, 

And young eyes beam around, 
Thou comest through the evening air 

A profitable sound. 

Thou bidst us use the pleasures which 

God gives us to enjoy, 
As most uncertain treasures, which 

A moment may destroy ; 
And Christians do not love thee less, 

Because thy homeward sigh 
Calls them from dreams which seem to bless 

To bliss itself on high. 



XXXI. 

u If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who 
shall stand?" — Ps. cxxx. 3. 

WHEN bow'd before Jehovah's throne 
With bended knee and lifted eye, 
My vows I breathe, my sins I own, 
And pour the supplicating sigh ; 
This is the heaviest thought to me, — 
I am not what I seem to be. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 35 

For wand'ring thoughts and wild desires 

Oft lurk beneath that solemn show, 
There — lighting their unhallow'd fires 

Where Love to God alone should glow : 
The meek adorer others see 
Is not what he appears to be. 

Yet there are times, when by life's joys 
My thoughts — insensibly beguiled — 

Will trifle with its empty toys, 

And — answering — smile where it hath smiled ; 

Then, 'tis a gladsome thought to me 

I am not what I seem to be. 

For 'neath that laugh of thoughtless mirth 

There lives a deeply serious soul, 
And impulses of heavenly birth, 

Which look and long for Heaven's controul ; 
The giddy thing that others see 
Is not what he appears to be. 

Lord make me in Thy sight sincere, 
From heartless prayer my soul protect, 

And, when the eyes of men are near, 
Make me more humbly circumspect ; — 

Seeming — as one who lives with Thee, 

And being — what I seem to be. 



26 PARISH MUSINGS. 



u 



XXXII. 

" O that I were as in months past." — yob xxix. 2. 

Ol FOR the warmth of other days, 
• The fervour and the fire 
That breathed through every song of praise, 

And kindled each desire ! 
That gave that depth of holy love 

To the still voice of prayer, 
When first it wing'd its way above 
To plead a Saviour there ! 

O ! for that love, — so deep, so true, — 

That first young love of heav'n, 
That filPd this soul when first it knew 

Its sins were all forgiv'n ! 
When first it felt the saving power 

Of Christ's atoning blood, 
And in that hope-reviving hour 

Gave itself up to God ! 

But colder now, — more careless grown — 

This heart seems hard or dead, 
The love once felt is now unknown, 

The faith once fervent — fled ! 
While even He whose dawning ray 

Of love such comfort brought, 
'Mid blessings of a perfect day 

Is now almost forgot. 



PARISH MUSJNGS. "37 

Time was when prayer was a delight, 

And precious was the word, 
To muse therein both day and night, 

And commune with the Lord ! 
But now a privilege no more, 

'Tis duty only moves ! 
Because I fear Him I adore, — 

And not because He loves ! 

O ! for the warmth of other days ! — 

And yet how vain must be 
Such wishes, Lord, unless my ways 

With Thy commands agree ! 
For love must die, and joy must cease 

When man forgets his God, 
And paths of pleasantness and peace 

The careless never trod. 

Lord, make this heart more purely Thine, 

And such fond love supply 
'Mid feeling's premature decline 

That faith may never die ! 
So shall each careless, cold desire 

Once more devoutly burn, 
And all the fervour and the fire 

Of Heav'n's first love return. 



38 PARISH MUSINGS. 



XXXIII. 

" Walking in the fear of the Lord." — Acts ix. 31 

FEAR ! — sure, Lord, a sinner must 
Often fear while he is dust, 
While he owns a heart within 
Full of earthliness and sin. 

Never let my spirit be 

In such false security, 

As to walk, while wand'ring here 

Amid sin, without a fear ! 

'Tis not that I doubt my God 
Or the power of His blood, 
That His love could ever leave me, 
Or His truth could e'er deceive me ! 

'Tis not that I fear His pow'r 
Failing in the darkest hour, 
Or that death or hell could ever 
Me from my Redeemer sever ! 

But lest I should grieve His grace, 
And lest He should hide His face, 
And my heart then wand'ring go 
Where 'twould lose its Heav'n below. 

Lord, I'm weak but Thou art strong, 
Faint, but Thou shalt be my song, 



PARISH MUSINGS. 39 

Weak and faint, but when I fear 
I'll remember Thou art near. 

For the closer I have trod 
Daily with Thee, O my God, 
Well I know, I've found within 
Less of fear, — since less of sin. 

Therefore though my trust, O Lord ! 
Rest upon Thy faithful word, 
And no shade of doubt could make 
Me suppose Thou would'st forsake ; — 

Never let my spirit be 

In such false security, 

As to walk, while wand'ring here 

Amid sin, without a fear ! 



XXXIV. 

" So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our 
hearts unto wisdom." — Ps. xc. 12. 

SO teach me, Lord, to number 
The moments as they fly, — 
So teach me, Lord, to Thee to live 

That I to Thee may die ; 
That all my powers, all my praise 

To Thee may first be giv'n, 
And all my talents, all my days 
Be consecrate to Heav'n ! 

E 2 



40 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Make me remember Whose I am, 

And Whom I ought to serve, 
How much of mercy I receive, 

How little I deserve ! 
Unite my heart, O Lord ! to fear 

And reverence Thy Name, 
And let my life each passing year 

Thy faithfulness proclaim. 

Less than the least, — the least of all 

The mercies shown to me, 
Unworthy — but through Christ — to bend 

A worshipper to Thee ; 
Without Thy grace I cannot give 

To Heav'n one contrite sigh, 
Without Thee, Lord, I could not live, 

Without Thee dare not die ! 

Then be my Guard, my Guide through life, 

In death my firmest Friend, 
My Strength along the rugged way, 

My Glory at the end ! 
And teach me so to number, Lord, 

The moments as they fly, 
That I may live upon Thy word, 

And in Thy faith may die. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 4I 



XXXV. 



M The Lord is risen indeed.'* — Luke xxiv. 34. 

THIS day the Lord is risen 
Our light and life to be, 
And the grave's gloomy prison 

Is burst, and we are free ! 
Death may not hold us longer 

Than 'till His voice shall call, 
'Tis strong — but Christ is stronger, 
For He is Lord of all ! 

He gave His life to buy us 

From sin and death and pain, 
With blessings to supply us 

He took that life again : 
And now He waits in glory 

To meet His own above, 
Come, sinners, sing the story 

Of His redeeming love. 

His precious blood — the payment — 

Salvation He hath won, 
Come, put the seamless raiment 

Of His redemption on : 
And when this world deceiving 

Distracts you with its strife, — 
O come to Christ believing, 

Come that ye may have life ! 

E3 



42 PARISH MUSINGS. 

How sweet the path of duty 

When walking with the Lord, 
We see Christ in His beauty, 

And live upon His word ! 
Earth hath no scene of sadness 

This hope could fail to cheer, 
Nor one bright hour of gladness 

It would not make more dear. 

This day the Lord is risen 

Our light and life to be, 
And the grave's gloomy prison 

Is burst, — and we are free ! 
Death may not hold us longer 

Than 'till His voice shall call, 
'Tis strong — but Christ is stronger, 

For He is Lord of all ! 



XXXVI. 

" The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing : 
Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness." — Ps. xli. 3. 

OHOW soft that bed must be 
Made in sickness, Lord, by Thee ! 
Dear that rest, where calm and sweet, 
Sufferer and Saviour meet ! 

'Twas the good Physician now 
Soothed my cheek and chafed my brow, 



PARISH MUSINGS. 43 

Whisp'ring — as He raised my head, 
" It is I — be not afraid." 

God of glory, God of grace, 

Hear from Heav'n Thy dwelling-place ! 

Hear in mercy and forgive, 

Bid Thy child believe and live ! 

Bless me, and I shall be blest, 
Soothe me, and I shall have rest, 
Fix my heart, my hopes above, 
Love me, Lord, for Thou art love ! 



XXXVII. 

M Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou so 
disquieted within me ? hope thou in God : for I shall yet praise 
Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." — 
Ps. xlii. 1 1 . 

WHY restless, why so weary, 
My soul why so cast down ? 
Is all around so dreary, 

And hath the cross no crown ? 
Where is the God who found thee, 
Who once could make thee glad, 
Are not His arms around thee, 
Then wherefore art thou sad ? 

O trust the Lord who bought thee, 
O trust the sinner's Friend ! 



44 PARISH MUSINGS. 

The wondrous love that sought thee 
Will keep thee to the end ! 

Will give a glorious morrow 
To this thy night of pain, 

And make thy dews of sorrow 
Like " shining after rain ! " 



XXXVIII. 

" A wounded spirit who can bear?" — Prov. xviii. 14. 

A WOUNDED spirit stung by sin, 
A dark foreboding of distress, 
A conscious load of guilt within, 
A shudd'ring at that consciousness ; 
A secret pang, that e'en with one — 
One best beloved — he may not share, 
A dream of hope for ever gone, — 
" A wounded spirit who can bear ?" 

The heart may bend beneath the blast 

Of earthly sorrow, earthly pain, 

And, when the blighting storm hath past, 

Unhurt, unscathed may rise again ; 

Yet tho' it deeply feel, 'twill melt 

In tears of joy, if peace be there, 

But who that ever yet hath felt 

"A wounded spirit, — who can bear ?" 



PARISH MUSINGS. 45 

XXXIX. 

" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest" — Matt. xi. 28. 

BESET with cares, oppress'd with woe, 
Where can the weeping mourner go ? 
Where find remission from the sin 
That wounds, and wearies him within ? 
A hope to banish all his fears, 
A hand to wipe away his tears, 
Pardon — his spirit to release, 
And whisper softly " Go in peace ! " 

Vain are the comforts earth supplies, 
As soon as grasp'd each pleasure dies ; 
The joys least kindred to decay 
Have made them wings, and fled away ! 
Hopes once the brightest have declined, 
Friends once most stedfast proved unkind ; 
One only Voice to souls distress'd 
Seems still to promise certain rest. 

* Come, mourner,' — thus it seems to say, — 
1 Come forth from darkness into day ; 
1 Tho' lone thine heart, and full thine eye, 
' Tho' sad sin's smart and sorrow's sigh, 
1 Tho' far thy wand'ring feet have stray'd, 
1 Thy spirit deeply disobey'd, — 
' Yet come ! — if weary and oppress'd, 
1 Come to Me, I will give you rest ! ' 



46 PARISH MUSINGS. 

1 Come near, nor dread repulse from Me, 
i I wept that I might comfort thee ; 
6 Touch'd with a feeling of thy woe, 
1 Since all except its sin I know, 
' I listen to the feeblest voice, 
' Bid the most sorrowful rejoice, 
' Then come, thou weary and oppress'd, 
i Come to Me, 1 will give you rest ! y 



XL. 



" Let it suffice thee j speak no more to me of this matter."- 
Deut, iii. 26. 

LET it suffice thee, speak no more 
Of this, it may not be, 
Thou canst not see what lies before, 
Submit, and follow Me. 

That path which opens out so fair, 

Bright with its golden hours, 
Mine eye can see the serpent's lair 

Beneath its fairest flowers. 

That cup which mantles high with joy 

And tempts thy longing soul, 
Its honied sweets would soon destroy, 

There's poison in the bowl. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 47 

Ask not for health, or wealth, or ease, 

Exemption from distress, 
Freedom from sorrow, or disease, 

Which I have sent to bless. 

Ask only for a holy heart, 

And a submissive will 
To bear thy cross, to do thy part, 

To trust Me, and be still. 

One gleam the more, one cloud the less 

Might not thy blessing be, 
Ask only for My Righteousness, 

Leave all the rest to Me. 

So shall thy cup with joy overflow, 

Thy pathway pleasant prove, 
And Thou from sweet experience know 

That all My ways are love. 

XLI. 

" Fear not therefore : ye are of more value than many 
sparrows." — Luke xii. 7. 

HE sparrow on the house-top 
Or chirping at the eaves, 
Speaks holy words of comfort 

To him whose soul believes ; 
Speaks holy words of comfort, 

Altho > the heedless ear 
Sounds only light and trifling 
Can in its cherup hear. 



T 



48 PARISH MUSINGS. 

" Fear not," — this is the burden 

For ever of its song, 
" Fear not," — tho' God seem slow to right, 

And man seem swift to wrong ; 
" Fear not," — the mighty Father 

Whose hand is over all 
Counts every hair upon your heads, 

Sees every sparrow fall. 

Nothing to Him is little 

Who is Himself so great, 
His hand is large for every need, 

His heart for every state ; 
" Fear not," but only trust Him, 

'Tis thus the Sparrow sings, 
And nestles, where we all should hide, 

Beneath th' Almighty wings. 

Five of us for two farthings 

Are sold in every mart, 
And yet not one forgotten 

Before the Father's heart ; 
But ye are bought with precious blood 

Than gold more costly far, 
Then " Fear not," ye more value 

Than many sparrows are. 

Ye blessed little preachers ! 

My grateful heart receives 
Your lessons from the house-tops, 

Your precepts from the eaves ; 



PARISH MUSINGS. 49 

And, resting in their shadow, 

I thankfully rejoice, 
In every sound of life around 

To hear my Father's voice. 

And when my soul is drooping, 

And when my heart is low, 
And when I am untrustful, 

And know not where to go ; 
I'll ask no better teachers 

Than ye must ever prove, 
To him whose heart is wakeful 

To hear the Voice of Love. 

XLII. 

M For the commandment is a lamp j and the law is light; 
and reproofs of instruction are the way of life." — Prov. vi. 23. 

IS Light my Guide ! His Law my rule ! 
Blest precepts of His holy school ! 
Their feet will stray, their hearts rebel, 
Who do not love these precepts well. 

Grav'n by His Love on every cross, 
They teach the gain of every loss ; 
Grav'n by His cross on every heart, 
It learns to choose the better part. 

'Tis thus the holy sign I read, 
And ever in mine hour of need, 
Find peace in Him who for me died, 
His Law my rule ! His Light my Guide ! 

F 



H 



50 PARISH MUSINGS. 



XLIII. 

"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches 
in glory by Christ Jesus." — Phil. iv. 19. 

GREAT need have I for one 
Who would my Saviour be, 
And a great Saviour for my need 
Jesus Thou art to me. 

When God could never yield 

And mortal never pay, — 
Mortal and God, in Thee reveal'd, 

Wiped all my debt away. 

All that my sin doth owe 

Thy goodness can supply, 
My state is not for Thee too low, 

Nor God's demand too high. 

I'm not what I desire, 

Still less can hope to be 
What purity and truth require, 

But I'll be all in Thee. 

Less pure — I could not move 

With joy amid the blest, 
And Heaven with less of light and love 

Would be no place of rest. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 51 

XLIV. 
u Abide with us." — Luke xxiv. 29. 

ABIDE with us," Thou God of love ! 
And make our hearts Thy blest abode, 
Repair their ruins — let them prove 
The temples of the living God. 

" Abide with us," — nor journey on 

To other scenes, when hearts are here 

Seeking that presence which alone 

Can sorrow soothe, and gladness cheer. 

" Abide with us," — nor pass away, 

Why should those clouds return again ? 

Oh bid the gleam of glory stay, — 
That soft " clear shining after rain ! " 

" Abide with us ;" — Lord, grant that we 
May answer when Thy voice doth call, 

To hear and not to welcome Thee 
Were worse than not to hear at all. 

XLV. 

u For they have turned their back unto me, and not their 
face ; but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and 
save us." — Jer. ii. 27. 

WHEN ease and quiet are our lot 
Our hearts grow hard and cold, 
God and His love remember'd not, 
We wander from His fold ; 

F 2 



52 PARISH MUSINGS. 

But when His tempests sweep our sky 
His wrath we dare not brave, 

We stoop beneath the blast, — and cry- 
Arise our God and save. 

Lord, grant that ever in my breast 

Such dread of sin may be, 
That I may never dream of rest 

Or peace, except in Thee ! 
That 'neath the calmest, brightest sky 

Thy mercy ever gave, 
This heart may dread sin's storm, and cry 

Arise, my God, and save. 



XLVL 

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious 
promises." — 2 Pet. i. 4. 

THE broken contrite heart — oppress'd 
By mercy's chast'ning rod, 
Finds, — pillow'd on the Saviour's breast, 
Its only hope, its only rest, — 
' The Promises of God.' 

The soul, that long the slippery way 

Of cheerless life hath trod, 
When taught to learn, to trust, to pray, 
Rests upon an eternal stay, — 

'The Promises of God.' 



PARISH MUSINGS. 53 

Nor hopeless o'er the Christian weep, 

Since round the lowly sod 
Eternal visions cheer his sleep, 
Eternal hopes their vigils keep, — 

' The Promises of God.' 

Then safe, my spirit, onward speed 

To Zion's bright abode ; 
Follow where thousand mercies lead, 
And humbly trusting, humbly plead 

* The Promises of God.' 

XLVII. 



D 



"And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness 
ovei all the earth until the ninth hour." — Luke xxiii. 44. 

jARK and dim the daylight rose, 
Destined with Thy life to close; 
With the life Thou didst assume 
As Thy passport thro' the tomb ; 
But a drop in the great sea, 
Lord, of Thine eternity. 

On the tree accursed dying, 

Death and hell, beneath Thee lying, 

There their doom long look'd for meet, 

Crush'd beneath Thy bruised feet. 

Bitter scorn and cruel pain, 

Do their worst with Thee in vain, 

For Thou answer'st not again. 

F 3 



54 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Prayers for them are Thy replies 
To Thy taunting enemies, 
From Thy pierced side doth flow 
Medicine for all our woe, 
Thy dear arms outstretch'd we see, 
Drawing the whole world to Thee ; 
And that head so meekly bow'd 
'Neath the momentary cloud, 
Breathes, with its departing breath, 
Life accomplished in death. 

Lo ! the vail is rent asunder, 
Darkness over head, and under 
Graves are open'd, earth doth quake, 
And the very dead awake. 

Angels who beside Thee kept 
Watch, and o'er Thy passion wept ; 
Now before Thee, at the gate 
Of Thy paradise, do wait, 
Hymns celestial round Thee pouring, 
As they bend, the might adoring 
Of Thy Godhead laid to rest 
In the regions of the blest. 

Saviour of Thy people ! now 
With Thy wounded hands and brow, 
Gone to plead beside the throne, 
Thy redemption for Thine own, 
Grace to seek in large supplies 
Even for Thine enemies ; — 



PARISH MUSINGS. 55 

Hear us when to Thee we cry, 
Make us feel that Thou art nigh, 
Help us when in time of need 
We Thy great deliv'rance plead, 
Cleanse us with Thy precious blood, 
O Thou gentle Lamb of God ! 

By Thy cross and passion save us ; 
By the hope those suffrings gave us ; 
By Thine agony and sweat, 
By Thy prayers on Olivet, 
By Thy sighs and by Thy tears, 
By Thy people's hopes and fears, 
By the peace vouchsafed to Thee 
When in dark Gethsemane ! 

By the sacramental tide 

Gushing from Thy wounded side, 

By the load of others' sin 

That oppress'd Thy soul within, 

By the wondrous love Thou bore us 

That by death Thou should'st restore us, — 

By that mercy and that love 

Hear us, Lord, in Heav'n above ! 

In the midnight of our sadness, 

In the noontide of our gladness, 

Thro' each changing scene of life, 

Calm and sunshine — storm and strife, 

At the last dread parting hour, 

In Thy judgment's might and power — 



56 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Lord, deliver and defend us, 
Let Thy Spirit still attend us ; 
Be Thine Eye our leading star, 
Guiding upward from afar, 
Here, — the surety Thou art nigh, 
There, — the blest reality ! 



XLVIII. 

" All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord j and Thy saints 
shall bless Thee." — Ps. cxlv. 10. 

OWHAT a gloomy cheerless scene 
A world accursed might have been, 
If He, — who in His mercy hath 
Strew'd such delight along life's path, — 
Had changed each passing breath and sound 
That floats in harmony around, — 
To discords such as would destroy 
Sensation's every pulse of joy ! 

But He who bids us seek His face 
Makes Nature handmaiden to Grace, 
And lest our souls — to earth too prone — 
Should faint before they reach the throne, 
The sea beneath, the sky above 
Hath form'd as mirrors of His love, 
And every rock, and flow'r, and tree 
Made vocal for eternity. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 57 

Where'er we move or walk abroad 
We see — we feel a present God ! 
The very balm that scents the air 
Breathes of a purer essence there, 
The bubbling runnels as they flow, 
Chant sweetest anthems soft and low, 
And every bird, from bush and brake, 
To praise the sylvan echoes wake. 

Nature with one harmonious voice 

In her Creator doth rejoice, 

Earth's flowers reflect Him in their bloom 

And breathe His praise in rich perfume, 

The sun by day, the moon by night, 

The stars, — those heav'nly flow'rs of light — 

All m one sweet accord, — His Name 

Almighty ! Wonderful ! proclaim. 

And O ! shall I, — when flow'rs and trees, 
Things soulless, senseless, such as these, 
Live to His praise, — as tho' they seem'd 
His own, His purchased, His redeem'd : — 
Shall I, — for whom His blood was pour'd, 
The blood of the incarnate Lord, — 
Be silent, — when this heart should raise 
To its Redeemer hymns of praise ? 

Lord ! when amid the songs of earth, 
Forgetful of my heavenly birth, 
My harp hangs on the willow tree, 
And renders back no praise to Thee, — ■ 



58 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Let the sweet hymns of those who know 
Not half the debt of love I owe, 
If not for love, — at least for shame, — 
Move this dull soul to praise Thy Name ! 



<< 



XLIX. 



O my God, I trust in Thee.'" — Ps. xxv. 2. 



LORD of love and mercy guide us, 
Shelter 'neath Thy rock provide us, 
Where no danger may betide us, — 

Hid with Christ in Thee ! 
Ever ours, but rather 
When cares round us gather, 

Then Thy grace 

Reveals Thy face, 
And we own Thee, Father ! 
Source of all that's b^st and dearest, 
Hidden joy 'mid woes severest, 
Friend — in danger ever nearest — 

Sweet to trust in Thee ! 

Sweet to be assured that sorrow, 
Tho' it cloud with care to-morrow, 
From Thy love a light may borrow 
The world's joy never gave ; 



PARISH MUSINGS. - 59 

When, by the glance of Heav'n 
Sin's gloomy darkness riv'n, 

We see Thee write 

In words of light 
" Thy sins are all forgiven ! " 
And souls and bodies bow'd before Thee, 
Lord, we worship, we adore Thee, 
And through grace those hearts restore Thee 

Jesus died to save. 



L. 

u I go to prepare a place for you. . . And if I go and prepare 
a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself $ 
that where I am, there ye may be also." — John xiv. 2, 3. 

FOR ever, Lord, to dwell with Thee ! 
From sin and care for ever free, 
With every feeling to Thee giv'n, — 
O what a foretaste this of Heav'n ! 

To see Thee — hear Thee — and adore, 
To love Thee — praise Thee — evermore, 
To walk for ever in Thy light, 
'Mid " no more curse," and no more night ; 

To serve Thee with a zeal, that ne'er 
Feels there the chills it weeps o'er here, 
To never tire or love Thee less, — 
This this is Heav'n and happiness ! 



60 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Yet even here 'mid care and sin 
This Heav'n on earth doth oft begin, 
For, if Thy love possess the heart, 
Our Heav'n is, Lord, where'er Thou art ! 

LI. 

M Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit 
be in the vinesj the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields 
shall yield no meatj the flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet will 1 rejoice in the 
Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." — Hob. in. 17, 18. 

IN Thee, my God, will I rejoice, 
To Thee I'll sing with heart and voice, 
Thy praise at morn, and noon, and night, 
Shall be my duty, and delight. 

Tho' bud and blossom fruitless fall, 
Tho' flock and herd from fold and stall 
Untimely perish, — yet in Thee 
My still unclouded joy shall be. 

Earth and myself alone contain 
All source of sorrow and of pain, 
Then I from earth and self will flee, 
And find another self in Thee. 

In Thee my God ! — from Thy pure skies 
All my fresh springs of gladness rise, 
True to their level — night and morn — 
To Thee in praise they shall return. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 01 

Thee — whom to know is life and light, 
Thee — whom to trust is power and might, 
Thee — whom to serve is to be free, 
My joy shall ever be in Thee ! 

LII. 

"The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." — Eph. vi. 14. 

BLEST sign of Man's redemption ! — I adore — 
Not thee, — but Him who did not fear thy pains, 
Who — tho' in light where the Eternal reigns 
He loved to live, — yet loved His people more, 
And therefore thus on thee their trespass bore. 
I do not owe thee worship, — but I ne'er 
Would join with those who, thro' some sickly fear 
Of rite idolatrous, on thee would pour 
Contempt and scorn, and level with decay 
God's finger-post that points the narrow way : 
But when I see thee, — this poor soul doth bless 
Love's cheering token in the wilderness, 
Recalling ever, at the well-known sign, [Divine. 
Sad thoughts of mortal guilt, glad thoughts of Love 

LIII. 

"Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, 
and Thy footsteps are not known." — Pi. lxxvii. 19. 

ASK'D for grace to lift me high, 
Above the world's depressing cares ; 
God sent me sorrows ; — with a sigh 
I said, He has not heard my prayers. 

G 



I 



62 PARISH MUSINGS. 

I ask'd for light, that I might see 
My path along life's thorny road, 

But clouds and darkness shadow'd me 
When I expected light from God. 

I ask'd for peace, that I might rest 

To think my sacred duties o'er, 
When lo ! such horrors fill'd my breast 

As I had never felt before. 

And O, I cried, can this be prayer 

Whose plaints the stedfast mountains move ? 
Can this be Heaven's prevailing care, — 

And, O my God, is this Thy love ? 

But soon I found that sorrow, worn 
As Duty's garment, strength supplies, 

And out of darkness meekly borne 
Unto the righteous light doth rise. 

And soon I found that fears, which stirr'd 
My startled soul God's will to do, 

On me more real peace conferr'd 
Than in life's calm I ever knew. 

Then, Lord, in Thy mysterious ways 

Lead my dependent spirit on, 
And, whensoe'er it kneels and prays, 

Teach it to say, — " Thy will be done." 



PARISH MUSINGS. 63 

Let its one thought, one hope, one prayer 
Thine image seek — Thy glory see; 

Let every other wish and care, 
Be left confidingly to Thee ! 



LIV. 

M Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring 
with him." — 1 Thess. iv. 14. 

They were — 

BUT what avails it now to tell of what has been? 
Fond-hearted, dear, and passing fair 
As e'er on earth were seen ! 

They are — 
In safety with their God, secure from sin and care, 
And the bright day cannot be far 
When we shall meet them there. 

The tears — 
Our loss of them might claim, thoughts of their gain 
do dry, 
That we may watch till Christ appears, 
Bringing them in the sky. 

Jesus ! — 
Their hope and life in death, — our joy in grief and 
pain. 
We live in Thee, — live Thou in us, — 
And all shall meet again. 

G 2 



64 PARISH MUSINGS. 



LV. 



M The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent 
one from another." — Gen. xxxi. 49. 

WHEN friend from friend is parting, 
And in each speaking eye 
The silent tears are starting 
To tell what words deny, 
How could we bear the heavy load 

Of such heart-agony, 
Could we not cast it all — our God — 
Our gracious God — on Thee ? 
And feel that Thou kind watch wilt keep 

When we are far away, 
That Thou wilt soothe us when we weep, 
And hear us when we pray. 

Yet, oft these hearts will whisper, 

That better 'twould betide 
If we were near the friends we love 

And watching by their side ; 
But sure Thou'lt love them dearer, Lord, 

For trusting Thee alone ! 
And sure, Thou wilt draw nearer, Lord, 
The farther we are gone ; 

Then why be sad ? since Thou wilt keep 

Watch o'er them day by day, 
Since Thou wilt soothe them when they weep, 
And hear us when we pray. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 65 

Oh for that bright and happy land 

Where — far amid the blest — 
" The wicked cease from troubling, and 

The weary are at rest;" 
Where friends are never parted 
Once met around Thy throne, 
And none are broken-hearted 
Since all with Thee are one ! 

Yet oh, till then watch o'er us keep 

While far from Thee away, 
And soothe us, Lord, oft as we weep, 
And hear us when we pray ! 

LVI. 

" Hear Thou in Heaven, Thy dwelling-place, and when 
Thou hearest, forgive." — 1 Kings viii. 30. 

AND wilt Thou hear my soul's complaint, 
And wilt Thou soothe its fears, 
Support it, Lord, when weak and faint, 

And dry its falling tears ? 
Wilt Thou forget to sin how prone 

Its wand'ring wishes be, 
And this remember, Lord, alone — 
That it was bought by Thee ? 

And wilt Thou bear with every doubt, 

And pardon every sin, 
Subdue each fighting from without, 

Forgive each fear within ? 

G 3 



66 PARISH MUSINGS. 

I know Thou wilt ! — for thus Thy grace, 

Tho' oft provoked it be, 
Reflected from my Saviour's face 

Shines brightest upon me ! 



LVIL 

" Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them 
not; for of such is the Kingdom of God." — Mark x. 14. 

u Beloved, ye hear in this Gospel the words of our Saviour 
Christ." — Baptismal Service. 

LORD, dependent on Thy promise, 
Here we lay before Thy throne 
This Thy gift, — receive her from us, 
Take and seal her for Thine own. 

To the gate of Heav'n we've brought her, — 
Cleanse her, Lord, from guilt and sin, 

And, for His dear sake who sought her, 
Take the little stranger in. 

Raise her in Thine arms and bless her, — 

Own her in Thy Church above, 
Before all Thy hosts confess her 

As the purchased of Thy love. 

Naked — clothe her with Thy merit, 

Helpless — Thou her helper be ! 
Dying — breathe on her Thy Spirit 

That her soul may live to Thee. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 67 

Grave upon her heart the token 

Only traced upon her brow, 
And the words by mortal spoken 

God immortal ! speak them Thou ! 

Here within Thy sacred dwelling, 
There thro' all Thy courts around, 

Mortals singing, Angels telling, 
She was lost, but she is found. 



LVIII. 

"Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus 
Christ, were baptized into His death ?" — Rom. vi. 3. 

WHEN the threefold Name was spoken, 
When the sacred sign was made, 
When upon our brows the token 
Of our baptism was laid : 

Threefold was the sacred promise, — 

To renounce, believe, and do ; 
God of mercy — turn not from us 

When those vows we here renew. 

From the Devil and his dangers, 
From the pomp and pride of life, 

Lord, as pilgrims and as strangers, 
Keep us in the holy strife. 



68 PARISH MUSINGS. 

From all lusts, depraved and fleshly, 
Set our struggling spirits free, 

Strike the rock, — and gushing freshly 
All our springs be found in Thee. 

Thee — by Whom we Heaven inherit, 
We for Thee the world forsake, 

CalPd by Thine Almighty Spirit, 
And received for Jesus' sake. 



LIX. 

"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" 
-I Cor. vi. 15. 

MEMBERS of Christ, children of God, 
Inheritors of Heaven, 
What titles, — what a bright abode, 
Mercy to man hath given ! 

Great God, — how grateful we should be 

For all that Thou hast done, 
To make poor sinners one with Thee 

Thro' Thine eternal Son ! 

What Love but Thine would e'er have thought 

That only Son to give, 
What blood but His could e'er have bought 

The right for souls to live ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 69 

What Pow'r but Thine own gentle grace 

Could break a heart of sin, 
And then into so vile a place 

Would stoop to enter in ? 

Father, Thy Spirit and Thy blood 

Shall not in vain be given, 
Members of Christ, children of God, 

We'll learn to live for Heaven. 



LX. 

M Be thou an example of the believers.'* — I Tim. iv. 12. 

BELIEVERS —this the glorious Name 
Which we may meekly bear, 
For which we scorn reproach and shame, 
And death itself should dare. 



Believers in the Word of God, 

And in His Only Son, 
Believers in His precious blood, 

And in the Heaven it won. 

Believers — once depraved and lost, 
But now by grace restored, 

Believers in the Holy Ghost 
That leads us to the Lord. 



70 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Believers — therefore heirs of life, 
Believers — therefore blest, 

Believers — therefore in the strife 
Of worlds secure of rest. 

Believers — this the glorious Name 
The Saviour's love hath given, 

Oh may we keep it free from shame 
Until we enter Heaven ! 



LXI. 

" It is good for me that I have been afflicted j that I might 
learn Thy statutes." — Ps. cxix. 71. 

I'VE seen a shepherd following his flock 
Weary and faint, from flow'ry rock to rock, 
And sigh'd to think that while his charge were blest 
He only wanted time for food and rest. 
I therefore mourn not when some change doth lay 
The shepherd's gear, and shepherd's crook aside, 
And as a sheep I 'mid green pastures stray, 
And rest, and drink where stilly waters glide, 
And hear the message I've so often taught, 
And learn experience of too wand'ring thought, 
And feel the need of being what I ought 
To be — an humble worshipper — no more — 
And yet what higher could be ? — bent before 
The Throne of the Redeemer I adore ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 71 

LXII. 

" There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." — 
Prw. xviii. 24. 

FRIEND of the friendless and the lone, 
Whose love makes all our cares Thine own, 
Be with us in our hour of fear 
And make us feel that Thou art near. 

Our griefs without Thee, Lord, would be 
The height — the depth of misery, 
While by Thy Spirit blest they prove 
But clouds, whose dews are peace and love. 

Lord, I would rather weep to feel 
Thy blessed influence o'er me steal, 
Than share the brightest earthly lot, 
Where Thou, my Saviour God, art not. 

For O ! without Thee, what the smiles 
With which a treach'rous world beguiles ? 
While with Thee — tears, and loss, and pain, 
Touch'd by Thy grace are turn'd to gain. 



H 



LXIII 

"The evening sacrifice." — Ps. cxli. 2. 
USH ! 'tis the hour of rest, 



The stilly hour, when we 
Toil-worn and care-oppress'd, 
Lord ! lift our hearts to Thee ; 



y2 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Tho' darkness round us lies, 

Bright watch Thine angels keep ; 

Tho' slumber seal our eyes, 
Thine never sleep ! 

O blessed Saviour, take us 

Beneath Thy sheltering wing, 
With morning to awake us 

Thy welcome praise to sing ; 
That at the hour of rest, — 

As thro 7 day's toil and care, — 
Praise may uplift each breast 

Whose breath is prayer ! 

LXIV. 

"The day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are 
stretched out." — Jer. vi. 4. 

SWEET summer day, — how calm, how bright, 
How beautiful art thou, 
Mirth waits around thy path of light, 

And sunshine gilds thy brow : 
The fairest flowers earth bestows 

Are blooming at thy feet, 
The gentlest — youngest breeze that blows 
Sighs round thee soft and sweet. 

The soul— refresh'd and gladden'd — soars 

Exultingly above ! 
And, lost in ecstasy, — adores 

God in His works of love ; 



PARISH MUSINGS. 73 

But soon the longest — loveliest day 

Yields up its short delight, 
And smiles and sunshine fade away, 

Wrapt in the clouds of night. 

Why live we then for fleeting hours, 

Whose beauty and whose bloom, — 
Whose brightest scenes and fairest flowers, 

Smile only round the tomb ? 
Ours be the sunshine of a face 

That knows no shade or frown, 
A long bright summer day of grace 

Whose sun no more goes down ! 



LXV. 

" Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields ; for they are 
white already to harvest." — 'John iv. 35. 

GOD of the Gospel, — hear our voice 
When we for Gospel gifts rejoice ! 
And only rest from praise — to pray 
That all the world may learn Thy way. 

Lord, bless Thy work, — and speed the time 
When every tongue and every clime 
Shall know the blessing of Thy grace, 
And seek Thee in " Thy dwelling-place." 

H 



74 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Oh bid Thy glorious Gospel run, 
And tell the nations of Thy Son ! 
Of Him who, on th' accursed tree, 
Died that their souls might live to Thee, 

The fields are white, — bid many come 
To help Thy golden harvest home, 
And lay the purchased treasure by 
In heaven's eternal granary. 



LXVI. 

"Be still, and know that I am God." — Ps. xlvi. io. 

WHENE'ER I bend my knees in prayer, 
Or bow before Thine unseen throne, 
Teach me, my God, that Thou art there, 

And let that thought, and that alone 
Make silence in this noisy breast, 
And hush its whispering cares to rest. 

Sweep from this heart, Thy sacred shrine, 
Earth's smouldering and unhallow'd fires, 

Let all its incense, Lord, be Thine, 
Thine all its feelings, its desires ; 

What traitor sin would dare to steal 

Its love from Him who bade it feel ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 75 

Nor let my hard rebellion force 
Thy gentle hand to take the rod, 

Thy love to change its peaceful course, 
And vindicate a slighted God; 

Until Thy triple cord of love 

Hath tried to draw, and fail'd to move. 



LXVII. 

u Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving 
your own selves." — James i. 22. 

TALK not of feelings, and of frames, 
When duties round thee lie, 
They are but empty sounds and names, 
These a reality. 

Waste not thy life in idle dreams 

Of what that life should be, 
But live it, — use rt, — for it teems 

With tasks for thee and me. 

Talk — it is easy, — dreams are sloth, — 

Mere wishes idler still, 
Thy heart and hand, God wants them both 

To love and do His will. 

H 2 



76 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Then rise, and in His strengthening might 

The narrow path pursue, 
There wait, or watch, or rest, or fight, — 

Whate'er is duty — do. 

Do with that earnest faith, whose creed 
Mere words could ne'er declare, 

Spoken in every daily deed, 
And every nightly prayer. 



LXVIII. 

" The servant of God must not strive, but be gentle unto all 
men." — 2 Tim. ii. 24. 

GIVE me that gentle spirit, Lord, 
Which marks Thy faithful few, 
Which answers not the railing word, 
Nor does as worldlings do. 

But using life, lives far above 
Its treacherous hopes and fears, 

Fed by the warmth of Heavenly love, 
And penitential tears. 

Which holds all care as little worth 
Save when from truth it swerves, 

And deems the poorest lot on earth 
Better than it deserves. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 77 

Which cheerfully takes up its cross, 

Content whate'er it be ; 
And counts as gain the deepest loss 

So it but lead to Thee. 

Give me that gentle spirit, Lord, 

That L may daily prove 
My faith in Thy directing Word, 

My comfort in Thy love ; 

That I may use all means of grace, 

Thy faithfulness hath given ; 
And every thing, and time, and place, 

To make me fit for heaven. 



LXIX. 

" I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord." — ha. 
lxiii. 7. 

MY God, my Saviour, sweet to be 
Dependent every hour on Thee ! 
Amid life's bitterness, — how sweet 
Thy loving-kindnesses to meet ! 

Sweet to hold converse with Thee, Lord ! 
And hear Thee answer by Thy word ; 
Thy love in all my life to trace, 
And live that life — the child of grace. 

H 3 



78 PARISH MUSINGS. 

To feel the very light and glow 

Of heaven's own gladness here below, 

And drink those sparkling streams, whose rills 

Rise 'mid the everlasting hills ! 

None, walking as Thy Word hath taught, 
Have ever sought, and found Thee not, 
Or brought to Thee a single care 
Thou didst not either take or share. 

My God, my Saviour, grant that I 
May with Thee live, and in Thee die ! 
'Tis all my spirit asks, but less 
Thou know'st would not be happiness. 



LXX. 

u Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south j blow upon 
my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." — Cant. iv. 16. 

THE spring-tide hour 
Brings leaf and flower, 
With songs of life and love ; 
And many a lay 
Wears out the day 
In many a leafy grove : 
Bird, flow'r, and tree 
• Seem to agree 



PARISH iMUSINGS. 79 

Their choicest gifts to bring, 

But this poor heart 

Bears not its part, 
In it there is no spring. 

Dews fall apace 

The dews of grace — 
Upon this soul of sin, 

And love divine 

Delights to shine 
Upon the waste within : 

Yet year by year 

Fruits, flow'rs appear, 
And birds their praises sing ; 

But this poor heart 

Bears not its part, 
Its winter has no spring. 

Lord, let Thy love 

Fresh from above 
Soft as the south wind blow, 

Call forth its bloom, 

Wake its perfume, 
And bid its spices flow ! 

And when Thy voice 

Makes earth rejoice, 
And the hills laugh and sing ; 

Lord, teach this heart 

To bear its part, 
And join the praise of spring ! 



So PARISH MUSINGS. 

LXXI. 

"Daily shall He be praised." — Ps. lxxii. 15. 

DEPENDENT for our daily food, 
And for our nightly rest, 
For all we seek of great and good — 

All that can make us blest, 
Dependent, gracious God, on Thee, 

And on Thy daily care, 
Shall we for all ungrateful be 
And grudge Thee Daily Prayer ? 

Thy daily light Thou dost not hide, 

Nor nightly dews withhold, 
Daily Thy hand is open wide 

Pouring out gifts untold ; 
Thy daily Providence protects, 

Thy daily love doth spare, 
And cold the creature that neglects 

To give Thee Daily Prayer. 

The flow'rs awaken every morn 

To let their fragrance rise, 
With thousand songs from brake and thorn 

Up-gushing to the skies : 
The flocks and herds with bleating voice, 

And lowing note declare 
The Hand which makes them all rejoice, — 

This is their Daily Prayer. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 8l 

And open are the busy haunts 

Where thousands daily throng, 
The scenes where restless pleasure flaunts 

To sound of festal song ; 
And shall God's House alone be closed, 

And none to it repair I 
Who nightly 'neath His wings reposed 

They owe Him Daily Prayer. 

Lord, open every heart and door 

Thro'out this Christian land, 
Let crowds into Thy churches pour — 

Crowds round Thine altar stand ; 
And daily as Thy grace is given, 

And we receive our share, 
Let Christians to their Christ in heaven 

Offer up Daily Prayer. 



LXXII. 

"In the multitude of my thoughts within me,Thy comforts 
delight my soul." — Ps. xciv. 19. 

LORD, what is life, without the beaming smile 
Of Thine approval ? Every care and grief 
Hang on us heavy, — hopeless of relief, 
And even joys, that else would fain beguile, 



82 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Mock with their fond illusions all the while, 

Leading us blindly onward, but to leave 

Amid the ruins of the self-rear'd pile, 

Vainly to hope, and hopelessly to grieve, 

The blighted hearts, that in their bold pursuing, 

Had nothing gain'd except their own undoing. 

Yet are those sorrows — joys, and those deceivings 

The best success, — if thence spring such believings 

As make us feel, that all this earth can be 

Is nothing — worse than nothing — without Thee ! 



LXXIII. 
ci Fervent in spirit." — Rom. xii. II, 

OFOR a heart more fervent, 
My God, more purely Thine ! 
A spirit more observant 

Of all Thy laws divine ; 
Less cold when bent before Thee, 

Less careless in Thy sight ; 
More willing to adore Thee, 
And love Thee as it might ! 

Why should I cast behind me 
The hope that may be mine ? 

When God hath not resign'd me, 
Shall I my God resign ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 83 

Leave joy and peace and blessing, 

A life — a world of bliss ; 
For joys not worth possessing 

In such a world as this ? 



O for that deep devotion, 

That grace, whose strength within 
Subdues each wild emotion 

Suggested here by sin ; 
Uplifts each warm affection 

And lays it at Thy feet, 
Assured that no rejection 

The contrite soul shall meet ! 



LXXIV. 

"Ye serve the Lord Christ." — Col. Ill . 24. 

SERVANT of God, and can it be 
That such a soul as thine 
Could ever for sin's slavery 

Thy Master's house resign ; 
Choose present pleasure here, instead 

Of joy which never dies ; 
And rather sleep amid the dead, 
Than with the living rise ? 



84 PARISH MUSINGS. 

God pays His people with His peace, 

Sustains them with His grace, 
Makes all their sins and sorrows cease, 

And bids them seek His face ; 
Vouchsafes them guidance here in life, 

And, when their work is done, 
Beyond all struggle and all strife 

A place beside the throne. 

O ! what a service of delight 

Which Jesus stoops to share, 
The yoke how easy, and how light 

The burden we must bear ! 
Who that hath such a Master loved, 

And such a God adored, 
Could e'er by earth or sin be moved 

To call another Lord ! 



LXXV. 

c ( Arise, let us go hence." — John xiv. 31. 

DEEP tolls the muffled bell 
With its voice of woe, 
Bidding solemn — sad farewell 
To all things below ! 
Home, home ! 
Come home ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 85 

— Thus it seems to say, — 

Where rest 

Awaits the blest 
In eternal day ! 

Sweet sounds the Sabbath bell 

Summoning to prayer, 
Bidding cheerful — glad farewell 
To all worldly care ; 
Enter in, 
And from sin, 
Thus it seems to say,— 
Here rest, 
Where the blest 
Come to kneel and pray ! 

Lord ! so true to Thee alone 
Tune this discordant soul, 
That with the same soft Sabbath tone 
Whenever it may toll, — 
That sweet bell 
Of joy may tell, 
And ever seem to say, — 
Home, home ! 
Come home ! 
Come to Christ away ! 



86 PARISH MUSINGS. 

LXXVI. 

Ci Sorrow is better than laughter : for by the sadness of the 
countenance the heart is made better." — Eccles. vii. 3. 

OUR sorrows sometimes are our truest joys, 
And better friends, than many a one that wears 
More smiling aspect — more bewitching airs, 
And yet the very peace it speaks destroys. 
Bitter the sweet whose over-sweetness cloys, 
And sweet the bitter, that can keenly give 
An appetite for pleasures that shall live 
Beyond earth's baubles, and time's tinsell'd toys. 
Give me, O Lord, whatever lot Thy love 
And wisdom deem most fitting for me here, 
So it be gilded with Thy grace, and prove 
Me to Thee dearer, Thee to me more dear : 
What is a crown, if it be crown'd with loss ? 
And what are chastening cares, if glory crown Thy 
cross ? 

LXXVI I. 
"Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." — Ps. cxix. 75. 



M 



Y Father and my God, 
O, set this spirit free ! 
I'd gladly kiss the rod 
That drove my trembling soul to Thee, 
And made it Thine eternally ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 87 

Sweet is the bitterest smart 
That, with the bended knee, 
Bows down this broken heart ; 
For who, my Saviour, who could be 
A sufferer long, that flies to Thee ? 

The tears we shed for sin 

When heav'n alone can see, 

Leave truer peace within 
Than worldly smiles, — which cannot be 
Lit up, my God, with smiles from Thee. 

Then give me any lot, 

I'll bless Thy just decree 

So Thou art not forgot, — 
And I may ne'er dependent be 
On any friend, my God, but Thee ! 

As needle to the pole, 

There fix'd but tremblingly, 

Such be my trusting soul ! 
Whateer life's variations be, 
For ever pointing, Lord, to Thee ! 



1 2 



88 PARISH MUSINGS. 



LXXVIII. 

u Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus 
Christ." — I John i. 3. 

WHEN souls, tho' parted, can unite 
In prayer and praise, — how sure, how bright 
The glorious path that lies 
'Mid many a doubt, and many a tear, 
To a reunion— if not here — 
Hereafter in the skies. 

To be assured that we may meet 
Together round the mercy-seat 

At morn and evening prayer, 
And to the same eternal spring 
Our weary, thirsty souls may bring, 

To sanctify them there ! 

And this on earth ! — how like a spot 
Of Eden where the curse is not, 

By God in mercy spared, 
To be by tender hearts that love 
And angels' spirits from above, 

In blest communion shared. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 89 



LXXIX. 

u Let the people praise Thee, O God j let all the people 
praise Thee." — Ps. lxvii. 3. 

OFOR the time, when on the world 
Thy Spirit shall be pour'd, 
Thy banner over all unfurl'd, 
' Thy Name by all adored ; 
When nations, living on Thy words, 

And dwelling 'neath Thy wings, 
Shall own Thee only Lord of lords, 
And only King of kings ! 

When Thou Thy people's souls shalt bless 

With undisturb'd repose, 
And make earth's desert wilderness 

To blossom as the rose ; 
When every heart shall be Thine own, 

And Thou — tho' ever near — 
Shalt for Thy footstool leave Thy throne 

To dwell amongst us here. 

Bright blessed hour ! — O Lord, how long, 

How long, O Lord, 'till we 
Shall stand amid that countless throng 

Thus gather'd around Thee ? 
Where souls long parted safe at last 

Before Thy throne shall meet. 
And crowding saints their crowns shall cast 

In thousands at Thy feet ? 

I 3 



90 PARISH MUSINGS. 

LXXX. 

" O Lord, how great are Thy works ! " — Ps. xcii. 5. 

IN every season, every hour, 
In every leaf, in every flower, 
In every scene, and every sound, 
Amid creation's wonders found, 
My soul Thy providence discerns, 
And, whensoe'er I walk abroad, 
To Thee involuntar'ly turns, 
To Thee my God ! — to Thee my God ! 

The glories of the midnight sky, 
The evening insect humming by, 
The mightiest and the meanest prove 
Alike Thy wisdom, power, and love ; 
While heav'n and earth thus both combine 
To raise the heart, and point the road 
That leads thro' blessings so divine 
To Thee my God ! — to Thee my God ! 

But O, how much more dear to trace 
The wonders of Thy world of grace ! 
The soul that by the Cross can kneel 
And all that Cross's comfort feel, 
Upon the Saviour's healing wings, 
Wash'd in the Saviour's precious blood, 
Redeem'd — regenerated springs 
To Thee my God ! — to Thee my God ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 01 



LXXXI. 

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; 
for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, 
in the grave, whither thou goest." — Eccles. ix. 10. 

WHATE'ER my hand or heart design, 
Of holy thought, or work divine, 
Of alms, or fast, or prayer ; 
May I, my God, with all my might 
Do it for Thee, and in Thy sight, 
Thy love — mine only care ! 

When moved to tears by prayer or praise, 
By holy things or holy days, 

My soul adoring bows ; 
And falters forth its hopes and fears, 
May I not rest content with tears, — 

But haste and pay my vows. 

For tears are weak, and sin is strong, 
And time is short, and sorrows long, 

For those who time misspend ; 
And they who would lie down in rest 
Should thro' life's journey do their best, 

As well as at its end. 

Since in the grave, where we do go, 
None may " device nor knowledge" know, 



92 PARISH MUSINGS. 

" No work, nor wisdom" there ; 
They must have trod the narrow way 
Who, at the close of life's short day, 

God's paradise would share. 



LXXXII. 

M O Lord, I am oppressed : undertake for me/* — Isa. xxxviii. 



14, 



LORD, I'm oppress'd ! O undertake 
For me, for my Redeemer's sake ! 
Unclean, unworthy, — I confess, 
Yet oh ! accept His righteousness ! 

On Him alone I dare repose, 
From Him alone my comfort flows, 
And all I am, or hope to be, 
I owe— thro' Him — my God, to Thee ! 

A wanderer — His mercy sought ! 

A slave — His blood my freedom bought ! 

And dead in trespasses and sin, 

His voice awoke life's pulse within ! 

Hear such a monument of grace 
Presuming thus to seek Thy face, 
Accept my prayer, and for Thy Son 
O perfect Thou the work begun ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 93 

Low at Thy footstool, Lord, I lie, 
Smile on me here or else I die, 
Smile on me ! — nor let sin destroy 
The bursting blossoms of my joy. 

Since faint and feeble, weak and low, 
I cannot stay, yet dare not go : 
I have no strength, no hope no plea, 
Unless Thou undertake for me ! 



LXXXIII. 

u O Death, where is thy sting ?" — 1 Cor. xv. 55. 

WHY that sigh, my soul, at parting 
From a world so cold as this ? 
Why those silent tear-drops starting, 

Standing at the gates of bliss ? 
Soon this struggle shall be ended, 
Jordan's swellings soon be past, 
And these fears, — a while suspended, — 
Lose themselves in heaven at last. 

What is death ! — to sleep in Jesus 

When this weary strife is o'er, 
And to sorrows, sins, diseases 

Never to awaken more ! 
Safe from every care and anguish, 

Leaning on the Saviour's breast, 
" Where the wicked cease from troubling, 

And the weary are at rest ! " 



94 PARISH MUSINGS. 



LXXXIV. 

€t How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him 
that bringeth good tidings !" — ha. Hi. 7. 

HARK, the Sabbath bells are pealing ! 
Hundreds to the House of Prayer 
Throng the crowded pathways, feeling 
Thankful to be summon'd there. 

Once this day was dull and lonely, 
Weekly toil brought more content ; 

That was useful, — this was only 
Wearisome, because misspent. 

Now the Sabbath morn is cheerful, 

Heav'n's high hopes our hearts employ ; 

And, if any eye be tearful, 
It overflows with tears of joy. 

Now we hear the sacred story 

Of His love who for us died, 
Means of grace, and hopes of glory 

Every thought and hour divide. 

Blessings rest on those who sought us, 
Like their Master, when we err'd, 

Tended, comforted, and brought us 
Where we hear His Holy word. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 95 

" Beautiful upon the mountains" 

Are the feet of those who bring 
Tidings of the eternal fountains, 

Whence the living waters spring ! 

And how blest, when thousands thirsting 

Bow with bended heart and knee 
Round those " living waters" bursting 

Rock of ages — fresh from Thee ! 

Hark, the Sabbath bells are pealing ! 

Let us to the House of Prayer 
Press with eager footsteps, feeling 

Thankful to be summon'd there. 



LXXXV. 

"My days are like a shadow that declineth." — Ps. cii. 11, 

HOUR by hour, and day by day, 
Week by week life wears away, 
Month by month, and year by year, 
Thousands come, and disappear, 
While time's ceaseless sand runs on, 
Soon flows out, and we are gone ! 

Gone ! — and whither must thou go? 
Dying sinner, — dost thou know 
What thy destiny shall be 
Throughout all eternity ? 



g6 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Hast thou thought, while life is flying, 
Hast thou ever thought of dying, 
Of the hour when thou must meet 
God at His own judgment-seat,. 
And to all here loved so well 
Bid a long, a last farewell ? 

Where thy treasure, where thy trust ? 
Here, — 'mid worms and worlds of dust ? 
Or, — in that eternal home, 
Where nor moth, nor rust doth come ? 

Use the moments as they fly, 
Living, — know that thou must die ; 
Dying, — as thou daily art, 
Let this hope that peace impart 
Which God's word alone can give, — 
They who sleep in Christ shall live ! 



LXXXVI. 

"They shall walk with me in white." — Rev, iii. 4. 

SWEET babe ! we welcome thee to earth, 
We call thee blest, we hold thee dear ; 
And, — emblem of a brighter birth, 
We clothe thee for a brighter sphere. 

Keep here thy garments clean, and bright 
That sacred sign thy brow upon, 

And thou shalt walk with Christ in white 
When this short day of life is done. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 97 

LXXXVII. 
" The whole family in heaven and earth." — Eph. iii. 14. 

MY sister dear ! how oft for thee, 
In childhood's hours of careless glee, 
My hands have wove the little bower, 
Or bound around thy brow the flower, 
Or led amid the haunts of home, 
— Whence ne'er our footsteps sought to roam, — 
The pageant of thy birth-day scene, 
Where all was bright since thou wert queen ! 

Neglected are those scenes ! and now 
No flow'ret wreath entwines thy brow, 
No more at peep of birth-day morn 
Young hands thy little bower adorn, 
Nor the loud laugh and merry cheer 
Proclaim thee dearest of the dear ! 

Yet art thou not less loved, — nor less 
A being form'd thine own to bless ; 
For tho' years, as they stole along, 
Stole with them friends, and mirth, and song, 
They could not nor shall ever steal 
From souls that love, and hearts that feel, 
The fond affection that can ne'er 
Forget thee ! O, my sister dear ! 

Their silent lapse, as rolling o'er, 
Tho' it took much hath left us more, 
The deep conviction that our love 
Is not of earth but from above, 

K 



9§ PARISH MUSINGS. 

Not the mere burst of childish glee, 
But destined for eternity. 

Our little band is yet unbroken, 
Death could not souls like ours dissever, 
The same united prayer is spoken 
For thee, my love, and will be ever ! 
The same unalter'd heart and voice 
Join us above, when we rejoice ; 
And he, who is not less our own, 
Because beyond our vision gone ; 
As fondly as of old on earth 
Welcomes the morning of thy birth : 
A day less brilliant, not less dear, — 
With childhood's joy thro' manhood's tear ; 
Whose stillness to our hearts doth say, 
That some one is not far away, 
And that we are, and still shall be 
An undivided family ! 

Lord ! haste the time when we shall meet 
Together round Thy mercy-seat, 
And, amid joy which never dies, 
Hold our first birth- day in the skies ! 
Here — amid care, and sin, and strife, 
Be Thou " the way, the truth, the life :" 
Hereafter — earth's rough pathway trod, 
Our rest, our Father, and our God ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 99 



LXXXVIII. 

M Then they willingly received Him into the ship : and im- 
mediately the ship was at the land whither they went." — 
John vi. 21. 

BUT ere we reach the shore the breeze is gone 
That had so lately sped us swiftly on. 
In vain our little bark her path would try 
Across the ocean's deep tranquillity, 
Her idle sails hang useless out to woo 
Some young breeze wand'ring o'er the waters blue. 
Far o'er her prow our shelt'ring harbour lies, 
Oft we anticipate with longing eyes 
Our entrance there, but it is all in vain, 
And we had slept upon the slumb'ring main, 
Had not the might of the laborious oar 
Slowly but surely swept us into shore. 

O ! when becalm'd upon life's changeful tide 
And our poor barks on dangerous depths would rest, 
Could we but turn, with sweet experience tried, 
And use the oar of faith, — all would be blest. 
It might be labour, but how well repaid ! 
We might be distant, but would soon be near, 
It might be hope a little while delay'd, 
To make fruition only doubly dear. 



K 2 



IOO PARISH MUSINGS. 



LXXXIX. 

"The graves are ready for me." — Job xvii. I. "O grave, 
where is thy victory?" — I Cor. xv. 55. 

WHERE is my grave ? 'mid the silent dead 
Of the churchyard throng shall I lay my head ? 
Shall I sleep in peace with those who erst 
In happier years my childhood nurst, 
With them beneath the same green sod, 
My soul with theirs gone to meet its God ? 

Where is my grave ? in the mighty deep 

'Mid the treasures of ocean-caves shall I sleep ? 

With those who have slept there for ages before 

Far from their loved and native shore, 

The sand my bed, the rocks my pillow, 

And cradled to rest by the tossing billow ? 

Where is my grave ? on the battle plain, 
Where sleep in the warrior's bed the slain ? 
Where fiercely the rush of the war-steed past, 
Where the tyrant hath fought and breathed his last, 
And the foe and the friend one common bed share, 
Shall the place of my last repose be there ? 

Where is my grave ? 'neath some foreign sky 
Shall I lay down my wearied limbs and die ? 



PARISH MUSINGS. 101 

Far over mountain, and far over wave, 
Shall the wild flowers bloom on my lonely grave, 
In the land of the stranger, where none are near 
To breathe the soft sigh, and to shed the sad tear ? 

Where is my grave ? in the burning sand 
Of Afric's bright and sultry land 
Shall I sleep, when my toil and my labour are o'er, 
A weary shepherd on that far shore, 
With no record to tell, save the cross by my side, 
Of what faith I had preach'd, in what hope I had 
died ? 

Where is my grave ? It matters not where ! 
But my home beyond — it is there, it is there 
Where God wipes tears from every eye, 
And the Lamb is the light of a sunless sky, 
Where sin, and death, and sorrow o'er, 
They who enter in go out no more. 



XC. 



" Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower/' — ha. xxviii. I. 

WHAT is beauty ? but a flower! 
Early victim of decay, 
That the moment of an hour 
Either gives or takes away. 

k 3 



102 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Like the sunbeam on the fountain 
Where its light hath dancing shone, 

Like the roebuck on the mountain 
Here a moment, past and gone ! 

Tho' the sunbeam should be shaded 
Softly still the night wave heaves, 

Tho' the rose's hue be faded 

Fragrance hangs around its leaves ; 

So tho' beauty's bloom may perish, 
Tho' its earth-born glory dies, 

Souls when born from heav'n will cherish 
Brighter blossoms for the skies. 

Where the summer shower steeping 

May have stain'd the leaf's bright glow, 

There the winter tempests sweeping 
Might have laid the flow'ret low. 

Where a God of wrath reproving 
Might have humbled to the grave, 

There a God of mercy loving 
Only wounds that He may save. 

Thus the heav'nly Hand that guides us 
Bears us thro' the trying blast ; 

Or some shelter'd calm provides us 
'Till the gathering storm be past. 



PARISH MUSINGS. 103 



XCI. 

"They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great 
goodness." — Ps. cxlv. 7. 

WHERE is the past, with all its sunny hours, 
The spring-tide glory of our friendship's year, 
The bloom, the fragrance of hope's earliest flowers 
Too freshly gather'd, deem'd perhaps too dear ? 

Far in bright memory's land ! 

Where are the summer boughs 'neath which we met, 
The soft sweet voices that came round us then, 
The songs — whose echoes faintly linger yet — 
Speaking of pleasure, whispering of pain ? 

Far in bright memory's land ! 

Where do the wither'd flowers of promise breathe 
Up from their bed of death a faint perfume, 
While melancholy's showers steep the wreath, 
And bring back fragrance, tho' they may not bloom? 

Far in bright memory's land ! 

'Tis thus when sorrow shadows o'er the track 
That dimly marks the future's unknown clime, 
Thus we can tread life's tangled pathway back 
To glories rescued from the touch of time, — 

Far in bright memory's land ! 



104 PARISH MUSINGS. 

And almost wish — but for that world above, 
Where pain and parting bid a last farewell, — 
Bending our all of soul and thought and love 
On that one little spot, thro' life to dwell 

Far in bright memory's land ! 



XCII. 



" I will return again unto you, if God will." — Acts xviii. 

21. 

AUTUMN leaves are falling fast, 
Summer's ling'ring sweets are dying, 
Sorrow breathes on every blast, 

O'er some loved, some lost one sighing : 
Wherefore should we bid thee stay ? 

Go to other brighter bowers, 
But return when earth is gay 

With its spring-tide songs and flowers. 

With the cuckoo's earliest song, 

With the young year's freshest springing, 
With its green woods, and the throng 

Thro' their leafy bowers singing, 
With the primrose in the dell 

From its mossy cradle stealing, 
With each tale it hath to tell, 

Sacred to the soul of feeling ; — 



PARISH MUSINGS. 105 

Come with these ! and bring that soul 

Whence life borrows half its glory, 
Song its sweetness ever stole, 

And the primrose all its story ; 
Come ! nor list the stranger's song, 

Gather not the stranger's flowers, 
Sweeter to our groves belong, 

Richer, lovelier bloom is ours. 

Ever bright be mercy's star ! 

Holy guide before thee burning, 
Bright when distant, wand'ring far 

Brighter when to home returning ! 
These the wishes friendship pours 

Round her treasures, best and purest, 
Friendly prayers from friendly shores, 

Heaven enshrined and therefore surest. 

Autumn leaves are falling fast, 

Summer's ling'ring sweets are dying, 
Sorrow breathes on every blast, 

O'er some loved, some lost one sighing : 
Wherefore should we bid thee stay ? 

Go to other brighter bowers, 
But return when earth is gay 

With its spring-tide songs and flowers. 



106 PARISH MUSINGS. 



XCIII. 

" His compassions fail not. They are new every morning.'* 
— Lam. iii. 22, 23. 

BREATH of the morning ! how balmy thy flight, 
O'er earth and thro' air on the wings of light ! 
How sweet thy song of summer, how soft, 
How gentle thy coming, and O how oft ! 

With the morning stars when they first arose, 
To wake with their song a world's repose, 
Thy low, hush'd, whispering voice did sing, 
As night waved homeward her dusky wing. 

Fresh thou art from thy viewless bowers, 
Where all night long thou hast slept amid flowers, 
That sweeter than those of earth's loveliest dells 
Breathed at thy parting their soft farewells. 

Wandering the forests and wild groves thro' 
Thou hast drunk ere the sun of the morning dew, 
Thou hast kiss'd each flower, and raised its head 
With the balm of thy breath from its nightly bed. 

Thou can'st tell where first at peep of dawn 
The sun look'd down on earth's flow'ry lawn, 
What ocean wilds, or what mountain streams, 
First glanced in the smile of his morning beams. 



PARISH MUSINGS. I07 

Thou hast been o'er the heath where the wild deer 

lay, 
When he started up at break of day, 
Shaking the drops from his dew-steep'd hair 
O'er the wither'd spot of his lonely lair. 

Thou hast pass'd the waters that roll so bright 
Down the rocky path of their moss-crown'd height, 
Telling them tales of the mountain steep, 
And waking the vale they had lull'd to sleep. 

Thou hast swell'd the mariner's idle sails 
With a sigh of love from his own dear vales, 
That tho' sweet was sad, for thy soft breeze bore 
The bark that it cheer'd to some distant shore. 

But go, sweet breath of the morning air ! 
With thy pinions of light on thy path so fair ! 
And thy visits of mercy pay where'er 
Thy joy is most welcome, thy voice most dear. 

Go gladden the captive's lonely cell 
With some token of love from his native dell, 
And bathe his warm brow with a breath as free 
As ever swept o'er him in liberty. 

Go visit the mourner's lattice, and creep 
Into his soul with some dream of sleep, 
And tell him of flowers beyond the sky, 
That never are wither'd, that ne'er can die ; 

Or thro' the folds of the curtain'd bed, 
Steal in, and fan the fever'd head, 



108 PARISH MUSINGS. 

And cheer the sick one, as there he lies, 
With thy blessed hopes and memories ! 

If this thy mission, sweet morning air, 
With a message of comfort to pain and care, 
If thou dost leave thy bowers of ease, 
To brighten and bless such haunts as these ; — 

Then indeed the wave of thy glorious wing, 
Heaven's glad tidings to earth doth bring, 
As sweet as ever angels bore, 
To the children of men in days of yore ! 

Breath of the morning ! how bright must have been 
Thy primal path o'er the lovely scene 
Of a world where sin had never trod, 
Unspotted and pure from the hand of its God ! 

Bright was then thy path of glory ! 
Bright was then each morning's story ! 
And the beings of bliss, that cross'd thy flight, 
Sinless and deathless were bright, how bright ! 

Such mornings are past, nor aught so fair 
Shall welcome thy coming again, sweet air ! 
'Till the Lord shall descend from His throne on high, 
To reclothe this earth in His purity. 

Then shall the bloom of a world new-born, 
Wave in the breath of that nightless morn, 
Whose light shall the hills eternal crown, 
Whose risen sun shall no more go down. 



PARISH MUSINGS. J 09 



XCIV. 

" Thou that art the Hope of all the ends of the earth, and 
of them that remain in the broad sea." — Ps, lxv. 5. 

MERRILY ! merrily on we sail ! 
The sailor's life is gay ! 
His hopes are on the fav'ring gale, 
And whether it freshen, or whether it fail, 

Or whether by night or day ; 
He recks not, cares not, no ! not he, 
For his home is ever upon the sea, 
And his God is near, his guide and stay ; 
Then should not the sailors life be gay I 

Merrily ! merrily on we go ! 

The sailor's life is free ! 
Cares but few his heart may know, 
For wherever the breeze that bears him blow, 

There still his home shall be : 
And by night or by day the darkling deep 
Is the same to the eye that never doth sleep, 
And his God is the God that rules the sea ; 
Then should not the sailor's life be free ? 

Merrily ! merrily on we sweep ! 

The sailor's life is blest ! 
For he knows the wonders of the deep, 
And who alone his bark can keep 

By night or day at rest ; 



IIO " PARISH MUSINGS. 

He knows by Whom each breeze is given, 
Each calm he feels comes fresh from heav'n, 
And the thought of his God ever buoys his breast, 
Then should not the sailor's life be blest ? 

Merrily ! merrily on we fly ! 

The sailor's life is dear ! 
There's not a cloud across the sky, 
His throbbing heart is beating high, 

For ah ! his home is near ! 
And his eye glistens as he sees 
His native vale, its cots and trees, 
But the God of comfort dries the tear, 
Then should not the sailor's life be dear ? 

Thus the sailor's life is gay and free, 

And it is blest and dear ; 
Then should not he speed merrily 
Along the deep and dark blue sea, 

With nothing there to fear ? 
For with his Father at the helm, 
No tempests can his bark o'erwhelm, 
His sea is safe, his haven near, 
For the sailor's life to his God is dear f 



PARISH MUSINGS. Ill 



XCV. 



a 



Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing Father beareth the 
sucking child." — Num. xi. 12. 

HUSH, hush thee, my baby, hush, hush thee to 
rest, 
Be still ! and I'll sing thee the song thou lov'st best, 
For I'll sing of the mother whose blessing thou'lt be, 
And of hearts that are glad when they think upon 

thee, 
And of prayers which are rising that thou may'st 

be blest, 
Then hush thee, sweet baby, hush, hush thee to rest. 

Weep, weep not, my baby, weep, weep not to-day, 
111 sing 'till I charm thy young sorrows away ; 
For my song shall be all of those blessings divine, 
Of the home and the hope that, sweet baby, are thine, 
Of Him who is waiting all bright things to give 
And of One who has died that my baby may live ! 

There are flowers for thee, sweet one, which never 

shall die ! 
Unfed by a tear, and unfann'd by a sigh ; 
There's a heritage promised thee fadeless above. 
Whose title is grace, and whose riches are love, 
And a crown of rejoicing to circle thy brow. 
Then who'll be so portion'd, my baby, as thou ? 

L 2 



112 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Sleep, sleep then, my infant, sleep softly the while 
I'll sing to thee, sweet one ! and watch for thy smile, 
For that answering smile, love, which oft as I trace 
With its soft light of gladness play over thy face, 
I'll hail as a dream, sent thee down from the blest, 
And think that my babe's gentle spirit hath rest. 



XCVI. 
w He giveth His beloved sleep." — Ps. cxxvii. 2. 

GENTLY there, my child ! 
Gently there, my child ! 

Lay thy little head and rest, 
Every grief beguiled, 
Where thou oft hast smiled, 

Smile on thy mother's breast : 
There sleep, nor even dream of care, 
Time soon enough will bring thy share ; 

Sleep there, 

Baby fair ! 
There on thy mother's breast. 

When the chill winds blow. 
And my babe may know 

What it is to long for rest, 
That heart not near 
He clings to here, 

May he find a Saviour's breast ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. 113 

That when life's weary journey's o'er, 
He may — to wake in sin no more — 

Sleep there, 

Free from care, 
As on his mother's breast. 



XCVII. 

M Lord, teach us to pray." — Luke xi. I. 

THEY drew around Him, — for they oft had felt 
Cold hearts, and spirits wand'ring as they 
knelt ; [prove 

Thoughts all too worthless, — words too poor to 
Their depth of feeling, and their height of love ; 
And ever, labouring vainly to express 
Their wants, — their wishes, — and their thankfulness. 
They drew around Him — from His lips to learn, 
(Whose grace could teach, whose love could answer 

prayer,) 
Words to take with them, when their souls return 
To mercy's throne, and seek acceptance there. 
He spake — His voice the air with gladness stirr'd, 
While in their hearts He dropp'd each sacred word, 
Soft as the dews which evening skies distil — 
With promised blessings — upon Zion's hill. 



114 PARISH MUSINGS. 

XCVIII. 

" Our Father, which art in heaven." 

" /^\UR Father," — covenant and sacred Name, 

^— ' Pledge of the dearest privilege we claim, 
The right of children, venturing near Thee, — 
Children, in Christ, of Thine own family : 
Thy truth, — Thy tenderness we turn to prove, 
Like little ones around the parent knee, 
Clinging in helpless confidence and love. 
Yet, — lest the fondness of Thy fav'ring smile 
To too familiar commune should beguile, — 
The recollection that in heav'n Thou art 
Calms the wild fervour of each glowing heart, 
Subdues, but elevates those thoughts divine, 
Whose mystic union awe and hope combine, 
That Thou art mighty, yet that we are Thine. 



XCIX. 

" Hallowed be Thy Name." 

AND shall not then that Name so justly dear, 
Be shrined on earth, and hallow'd as on high ; 
Claiming more tribute than one passing tear, 
Or the mere sickly fragrance of a sigh ? 
With holier deeds, and higher, holier thought, 
Into the soul by God's own Spirit wrought, 



PARISH MUSINGS. 115 

Let us pass on through life, — a sacred band, — 

Like soldiers, bent all hardness to endure, 

So we can bear, safe to a better land, 

That Name, and trust, — consign'd to us so pure ; 

Ours be the hope, above all hope supreme, — 

Ours be the day-thought, and the midnight dream, — 

For every hour supplies of grace to claim, 

And prove God's gift by hallowing His Name. 



« 



C. 



Thy kingdom come." 



COME, Lord of Glory, — come in pow'r and might, 
Thyself reveal, and set Thy people free, 
Come forth in splendour, — put Thy foes to flight, — 
Make trembling nations stoop and bow the knee. 
Thy Kingdom — sigh'd and sought for oft and long, 
The glorious theme of every prophet's song, — 
Its reign of peace — of sinless peace and love, 
Its heaven below — as beauteous as above, 
Its calm, its quiet, — all its happy days, 
Whose work is love, and whose repose is praise ; — 
" Thy kingdom come " — one universal sway 
Be Thine, O Lord, o'er all the sons of men ; — 
Wake every heart in unison to pray 
" Thy kingdom come," and answer Thou, — " Amen." 



Il6 PARISH MUSINGS. 

CI. 

M Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." 

WHEN I consider, Lord, Thy perfect will, 
How form'd to make the miserable blest, 
To guide each wish, — each wayward passion still, 
And calm sin's sad disquietudes to rest : 
When I consider, too, Thy perfect love 
That reigns harmonious round Thy peaceful throne, 
Where thoughts, and feelings, all in union move, 
And know no will — no wisdom but Thine own : — 
And when I turn to earth, whence man should raise, 
Feebler it may be, but like notes of praise, 
And discord find, — where every heart should be 
All peace, all love, all perfect harmony ; — 
My soul's first feeling and last prayer are one, 
Lord, as in heav'n, in earth " Thy will be done." 



CII. 
" Give us this day our daily bread." 

WHERE'ER the sun begins his golden reign, 
For ever bringing some fresh dawn of day, 
Bidding night flee, and earth awake again, 
To the calm smile of his perpetual ray ; 



PARISH MUSINGS. 117 

Thence, every moment, may this prayer arise 
From filial hearts, 'neath some new morning's glow, 
Proof of each day's dependence on the skies 
For fresh supplies of all we want below ; 
From every clime, from every shore, Thine ear 
'Midst all Thy children the same voice may hear, 
" Give us this day our daily bread," — for we 
Must droop, and faint, and perish without Thee ; 
Withdraw Thy grace, — Faith breathes its parting 

sigh, 
Withhold Thy care one moment, — and we die. 



cm. 

" And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that tres- 
pass against us." 

HOW wisely God hath hedged life's path below 
To keep our erring footsteps lest they wander, 
By what we want to teach us what we owe, — 
By what we owe to make affection fonder : 
Assured that we must bid farewell to bliss 
Were He extreme to mark what's done amiss, 
Our souls, provoked by lesser ills, to such 
Should yield the pardon we require so much, 
Forbearing others every hour we live, 
Seeking forgiveness, call'd on to forgive. 



Il8 PARISH MUSINGS. 

Forgiveness, — purchased and most precious gem 
Amid the jewels of God's diadem ; 
Yet not too rich here sometimes to be met, 
By grace Divine in sainted spirits set. 



CIV. 
" And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." 

OURROUNDED, every scene thro' which we 

^-5 move, 

With snares too fitted to beguile the soul — 

Its warmth to chill, to qualify its love, 

To weaken Faith, and strengthen sin's controul : — 

O, in what utter helplessness we need 

Some pow'r to strengthen, and some hand to lead 

Far from temptations which we ill could bear : 

Or, should our wand'ring spirits hapless stray 

Amid a flow'ry, but deceitful way, 

Beneath whose blossoms lies the serpent's lair, 

How should we learn to trust, and breathe the 

prayer, — 
Deliver us from all the evil we 
Meet with in life, when journeying to Thee, 
And let Thy truth our shield and buckler be ! 



PARISH MUSINGS. I 19 

CV. 

* For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever." 

FOR unto Thee all pow'r — all praise belongs, 
Thine are united saints' and angels' songs, 
Redeemed spirits, — they who near Thy throne 
Stand in Thy light, or at Thy bidding move, 
Who know no song — no cause for gladness own 
But that one deep exhaustless theme — Thy love : 
They, and Thy suffering saints, who wait below, 
'Mid sins, temptations, weariness, and woe, — 
Swell the same chorus ; every tongue and tribe 
To Thee all might — all majesty ascribe ; 
Thine is the kingdom — reign in every heart, 
Thine is the power — create us as Thou art, 
And Thine the glory — at Thy feet shall fall 
Ten thousand thousand crowns, and Thou the Lord 
of all. 

CVI. 

"Amen." 

HUSH'D is the solemn voice that woke in prayer ; 
There is a pause, — and then there breathes 
again 
In stifled accents thro' the listening air, 
Like far off waters murmuring, — "Amen." — 
Hearts in its simple utterance arc pour'd, 
And God in that one little word adored ; 



120 PARISH MUSINGS. 

And heaven's high courts, (for all that human ear 
Can scarce its whisper, clothed in language, hear,) 
Ring with the voice of hearts, whose feeblest sigh 
Echo to echo answers thro' the sky ; 
Until it find its last response and rest, 
In the calm quiet of Jehovah's breast : 
Whence first it rose, — by His own gift of grace, 
There last it seeks, and finds a resting-place. 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 



God's Love to Man — 

In Providence, 15. 30. 48. 64. 75. 80. 

— Grace, 17. 65. 79. 89. 

Trials, 2. 7. 26. 36. 38, 39. 53. 61. 72. 76, 77. 
Christ, 25. 84. 

His Sufferings, II, 12. 41. 52. 

— Presence, 5. 44. 62. 

— Power, 35. 43. 

— Covenant, 28. 46. 57. 78. 81, 82. 

Man's Duty to God — 

In Renouncing Sin, 13. 58, 59. 

— Fearing Sin, 33. 

— Resisting Sin, 16. 19. 29. 

— Believing Truth, 4. 60. 

— Seeking Holiness, 14. 32. 70. 

By Prayer, 3. 63. 66. 71. 
By Discipline, 6. 28. 

— Holiness, 9. 20. 42. 50. 74. 83. 

— Earnestness, I. 8. 10. 18. 24. 45. 67. 73. 

— Sobriety, 27. 31. 34. 90. 

— Gentleness, 68. 



122 INDEX OF SUBJECTS. 

Man's Duty to God — 

In Submission, 21, 22. 40. 54. 

~ Joy> 37- 5 1 - 6 9- 

— Trust, 41. 49. 55, 56. 85. 

— Almsgiving, 86, 87, 88. 

— Prayer, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100. 



THE END. 



GILBERT & RIVINGTON, PRINTERS, ST. JOHN'S SQUARE, LONDON. 



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